Commuters stop for Ashes and Prayer

BRIDGEPORT—Ash Wednesday has begun early as many parishioners throughout the diocese have already received ashes at Mass or at the Liturgy of the Word services being held throughout the day.

As people throughout the diocese hustled to work and other appointments, they have made time in their early morning commute to begin their Lenten observance. Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten journey, a 40-day journey towards Easter, towards the heart of the liturgical year and of faith.

Father Peter Adamski, pastor of St. James Parish in Stratford, greeted the faithful in the early morning dusk as they awaited their trains at the Stratford railroad station

Some parishes such as St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull and St .Matthew’s in Norwalk are doing “Ash & Dash” distribution for walk-ins. St Catherine’s Ash & Dash will be available from 12 Noon-1 pm and again from 5-6 pm today.

St. Matthew’s conducted its “Youth Ash & Dash” with drive-up and breakfast bag from 6 to 8 am this morning. St. Matthew’s also reaches out through an “Ashes-to-go Bus Schedule” throughout the day in order to “Meet God’s people where they are.” The bus will visit Norwalk area businesses including Briggs Tire, Norwalk Fire Department, Darien Police, Total Look Salon, and other locations.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will be celebrating the 12:10 Mass and distributing ashes at St. Augustine Cathedral. The bishop said that Lent “should be a wake-up call once a year to repent and believe in the Gospel because Jesus is the truth and the light and the way to eternal life.”

On Ash Wednesday, the ashes, made from palm branches blessed the previous year on Palm Sunday, are placed on the heads of the faithful, along with a short Scriptural exhortation, either “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19), or “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).

“We’ve come here in the beginning of this time of penance to be reminded of the same thing. We enter into the desert for forty days and forty nights so that we may come to the cross of Jesus Christ renewed with our minds and hearts clear that we do not place our trust in the glory of mundi but in the glory of Christ and that our dreams, our hopes, our desires and our longings will find their answer in Christ—the one who freely gave his life so that you and I might have eternal life,” said the bishop.

Pope Francis has asked all Catholics to set aside this Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Ukraine.

For a complete list of Mass times and distribution of ashes in parishes throughout the diocese, click here.

Photos by Amy Mortensen