The beginning of Lent was marked by Ash Wednesday this week. People throughout the country attended extra church services and received blessings as well as the ceremonious application of ashes to the forehead.
The ashes serve as a reminder of human mortality and as a sign of repentance. The ashes are usually derived from the burning of palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.
A topic on the mind of many at this year’s Ash Wednesday was the shrinking number of places for worship. With congregations throughout the state consolidating due to closing parishes, many in the region attended the Ash Wednesday mass held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cairo.
Mary Caballero, a member a new member of the St. Patrick’s congregation stated that although the changes of venue have caused some difficulties, things are proceeding in a normal manner.
“Everybody’s ready for a new beginning,” said Cabellero. “We’ve all been getting to know some new faces and it’s been a positive experience for the most part.”
Friar M.C. Mujule led the year’s Ash Wednesday mass and spoke of the changing of seasons as well as the journey that the season of Lent signifies.
“We devote ourselves during Lent as a way to experience what Christ went through,” said Mujule. “We do this through prayer, fasting, and arms giving.”
Mujule highlighted the importance of caring for others throughout the season and reminded those present of suggested canned and other food items which can often be important in a time of need. Nonperishables and canned meats and vegetables are always accepted at St. Patrick’s in Cairo.
Sunday mass for Alexander and Pulaski County Catholics takes place weekly at 11:00 a.m. in Cairo.
George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen