Top

What Is Ash Wednesday

February 22, 2012 by staff 

What Is Ash Wednesday, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten season. Some individuals make an individual sacrifice as an expression of their faith. For others, it’s a day of gathering and unity.

Lent begins today and is observed for 40 days prior to Easter. “For me, Ash Wednesday is an annual mental pilgrimage to the most important aspects of Jesus Christ’s life — His most significant teaching, the extreme sacrifice He made and that it ultimately provided the greatest hope that Christians have,” said the Rev. Steve Bailey, pastor of First United Methodist Church of New Philadelphia.

Today marks the kickoff of the annual community Lenten services at noon Wednesdays at First UMC at 201 W. High Ave., New Philadelphia.

The 30-minute service features a pastoral leader from one of seven participating churches and is followed by an inexpensive soup and sandwich lunch.

This year’s theme is “The Questions Jesus Asked,” as recorded in the Gospel of John.

A few area ministers developed the idea about 20 years ago, and Bailey has continued the series during the 14 years he has been at the church.

“Initially, most of those attending were retired. Now we’re seeing a larger cross-section of people,” Bailey said.

“The instability and world turmoil over the last five years — with recession, war and t*rror*sm — has caused people to want to gather together in a positive way and experience hope,” Bailey said. “All too often the Christian community is divided rather than united. People enjoy this series. It’s truly a celebration of our unity, and I think it builds mutual appreciation and goodwill among our churches.”

Bailey arrived back in the United States on Tuesday after being on a trip to Africa. He will participate in the kickoff event, which he said has grown steadily over the years. Attendance ranges from 70 to 125 people.

“Now that I’m one of the senior pastors in the community, I try to help introduce some of the newer pastors locally to the community,” Bailey said.

He said that one of the trends he sees is “a lot of teens seem to practice giving up soft drinks or chocolate during Lent. They want to take their faith more seriously by denying themselves something.”

Fr. Jeff Coning of Sacred Heart Parish in New Philadelphia also returned Tuesday from Africa.

He said that Ash Wednesday is personally “a reminder of my own need to make sure that I’m doing a better job of following the Gospel.”

Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten season. Some individuals make an individual sacrifice as an expression of their faith. For others, it’s a day of gathering and unity.

Lent begins today and is observed for 40 days prior to Easter.

“For me, Ash Wednesday is an annual mental pilgrimage to the most important aspects of Jesus Christ’s life — His most significant teaching, the extreme sacrifice He made and that it ultimately provided the greatest hope that Christians have,” said the Rev. Steve Bailey, pastor of First United Methodist Church of New Philadelphia.

Today marks the kickoff of the annual community Lenten services at noon Wednesdays at First UMC at 201 W. High Ave., New Philadelphia.

The 30-minute service features a pastoral leader from one of seven participating churches and is followed by an inexpensive soup and sandwich lunch.

This year’s theme is “The Questions Jesus Asked,” as recorded in the Gospel of John.

A few area ministers developed the idea about 20 years ago, and Bailey has continued the series during the 14 years he has been at the church.

“Initially, most of those attending were retired. Now we’re seeing a larger cross-section of people,” Bailey said.

“The instability and world turmoil over the last five years — with recession, war and t*rror*sm — has caused people to want to gather together in a positive way and experience hope,” Bailey said. “All too often the Christian community is divided rather than united. People enjoy this series. It’s truly a celebration of our unity, and I think it builds mutual appreciation and goodwill among our churches.”

Bailey arrived back in the United States on Tuesday after being on a trip to Africa. He will participate in the kickoff event, which he said has grown steadily over the years. Attendance ranges from 70 to 125 people.

“Now that I’m one of the senior pastors in the community, I try to help introduce some of the newer pastors locally to the community,” Bailey said.

He said that one of the trends he sees is “a lot of teens seem to practice giving up soft drinks or chocolate during Lent. They want to take their faith more seriously by denying themselves something.”

Fr. Jeff Coning of Sacred Heart Parish in New Philadelphia also returned Tuesday from Africa.

He said that Ash Wednesday is personally “a reminder of my own need to make sure that I’m doing a better job of following the Gospel.”

It’s Coning’s second year in New Philadelphia and 15th as a priest.

“Ash Wednesday has always been a very well attended Mass,” he said. “It’s not a Holy Day of Obligation,” but he estimated that at least 500 people attend either the morning or evening Mass.

Sacred Heart is the only Catholic Church in Tuscarawas County to offer a 6:30 a.m. Mass today.

“I’m trying to help people who are going to work,” he said. “The 5:30 p.m. Mass is the normal time for Mass. Last year, both were well attended, and too many attended at 6:30 a.m. for us not to offer it.”

As for giving up something for Lent, Coning said that’s a personal matter not to be announced. However, he does see an increase among people who do that.

“As a church, we’re moving back toward Sacramentals — and a rediscovering of what we used to do,” he said.

Rev. Donald L. Rice Jr. of Grace Lutheran Church in Dover said of Ash Wednesday, “It really focuses our attention on what it was that Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection, total forgiveness of our sins and the promise of eternal life. Ash Wednesday reminds us of our mortality — ashes to ashes and dust to dust — and that without Jesus Christ, it would be oblivion.”

Rice also is in his second year in the county, and said he was told that last year’s attendance for Ash Wednesday and Lenten services rose significantly. Tonight’s service begins at 6:45 and continues on Wednesdays through March 28. Maundy Thursday (April 5) and Good Friday (April 6) services conclude the presentations. All services begin at 6:45 p.m.

He will again present dramatic monologues. This year’s theme is the “Bathrobe Monologues,” “because it describes the basic costuming for the series.” He portrays characters who share their thoughts, feelings and testimony about the day Jesus died.

“I try to encourage the listeners to put themselves ‘Beneath the Cross of Jesus’ and contemplate how they would react and how it would change their lives,” he said.

Rice has been an ordained minister for 26 years, and has seen change over the years.

“There seemed to be a time when there wasn’t much interest, other than on Ash Wednesday or during Holy Week,” he said. “But, I’ve noticed during the last couple of years that there’s been a little upswing in interest in reconnecting to the whole Lenten experience.”

For many area residents, Ash Wednesday remains a solemn day of reverence.

“Ash Wednesday has for me become a day to reflect upon my own mortality, and the things which are most important in this life – service to God, friends and family,” said Mark A. Capuano, who attends Church of The Holy Trinity near Zoar.

Report to Team

_________________________________________
Please feel free to send if you have any questions regarding this post , you can contact on

usspost@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of U.S.S.POST.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Bottom