Bridget Mary: Welcome and Introduction
While there is no mention of Ash Wed or Lent in the Bible, the practice of donning ashes as a sign of repentance dates back to Job, Esther, Samuel, Isaiah and Jeremiah in the Old Testament. Many Christians relate Lent to the imitation of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert.
In Christianity, by the 11th century, the practice of placing ashes upon heads at the beginning of Lent was widespread. In the 16th century, Martin Luther and Protestant reformers discarded this practice. In our times, planetary scientists remind us that nearly all the elements in the human body were made in a star and that we can say that we are stardust! This ancient practice of donning ashes continues to have deep meaning for millions of people throughout the world today.
Now as we offer “ashes to go” as a sign of spiritual renewal during this season of Lent. May our prayer, fasting and almsgiving help us to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God. May each of us be a blessing to all those we meet on our journey to the fullness of life in God’s presence.
A Prayer for Peace and Solidarity with the People of Ukraine:
Holy One, in whom we live and move and have our being,
We pray for protection for the people of Ukraine.
We pray for all who have died, and for all who have been injured.
We pray for all who have fled their homeland.
We pray for all the children, elders and vulnerable Ukrainians who have lost everything.
We pray for President Zelenskyy and for President Putin.
We pray for world leaders who are working with them for a just and lasting peace.
We pray that love will overcome hatred and division.
We pray that we may do all we can to help them.
(Prayer by Bridget Mary Meehan)
Distribution of Blessed Ashes:
Remember, you came from stardust and unto stardust you shall return.
From Women’s Ordination Conference