March 8, 2011

Bishop Cistone to distribute ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass at Cathedral

WHEN : Wednesday, March 9, 2011 12:00 p.m.

Bishop Cistone will bless the ashes and sprinkle them with holy water before the faithful come forward to receive the ashes on their foreheads, all are welcome to receive the ashes. The ashes come from blessed palms that were distributed last year on Palm Sunday and later burned.

WHERE: Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt Ave., Saginaw

SAGINAW — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, will celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption.

In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

While Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, all Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on this day to mark the beginning of the Lenten Season. During the Mass all are welcome to come forward to receive the ashes as a sign of repentance and mortality. The Sign of the Cross will be traced on each person’s forehead and a blessing will be said.

The Church emphasizes the penitential nature of Ash Wednesday and Catholics who are between the ages of 18 and 59 are called to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meaning they should eat only one full meal and two smaller meals without eating between meals. Also, all who are 14 and older are called to abstain from eating red meat (beef or pork), food made from animal fat, or poultry on those days and all Fridays during the season of Lent.

Throughout the Lenten season, Bishop Cistone will offer weekly reflections that focus on prayer and Christian living, with special attention to the abundant graces of God.

Each week, Bishop Cistone will suggest a spiritual exercise to help the faithful grow closer to the Lord during the holy season of Lent. The first reflection, in preparation of Ash Wednesday, is already available on the diocesan website, Bishop Cistone will continue to offer a weekly reflection each Monday, beginning March 14 through April 25.

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