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Deacon Fournier: Ash Wednesday is a Holy Day of Invitation not Obligation

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) – Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. However, it is always one of the most well attended liturgies of the year. That is because we all know we need to heed the invitation it offers.

We are sinners, in need of ongoing conversion.

I refer to Ash Wednesday as a Holy Day of INVITATION. An invitation is given from the Holy Spirit, acting through the Church, the Body of Christ, inviting us into forty days of prayer, repentance, fasting, interior house cleaning, conversion and charity. It is a time to begin anew, in the Lord.

But, we need to accept the invitation. To exercise the gift of our human freedom. To choose to turn, once again, to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.

On this Ash Wednesday I will stand alongside of the Priest to administer the ashes to the faithful who come forward. Together, we begin again the 40 day journey of repentance and conversion known as Lent. The term is derived from an old English word which meant the lengthening of days. We move out of the cold barrenness of winter and, as the days grow longer, long for the promise of New Life which comes with Spring.

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