Ash Wednesday at Home

OUR LENTEN JOURNEY WITH JESUS

The Diocese of Hamilton is pleased to bring you an Ash Wednesday Liturgy that can be celebrated, in safety, in the home. Below you will find tips for celebrating the Lenten season with your family, an outline of the Liturgy of the Word, and a video with the Gospel Proclamation and Reflection by Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI.

TIPS FOR CELEBRATING THE LENTEN SEASON
with your family, from the safety of your home

1. CARVE OUT TIME

Together as a family try to schedule some intentional time for prayer and reflection each week as we draw closer to the great feast of Easter. When can you gather together to pray? Do you have a calendar in the home? Try counting down the 40 days of Lent with little footprints, stickers or stamps marking your journey towards the celebration of Holy Week. Remember to mark the Sacred Sundays during the Lenten Season in a special way as these are exclusive of the 40 days of preparation.

2. SET THE SCENE

Create an intentional space for prayer. Working together to create a prayer center in the home can be a lovely opportunity for the creativity of your family members to shine. Make sure the space you choose is comfortable and inviting for all children present. Think about utilizing signs and symbols from the Church to heighten awareness to the importance of this prayer time; candles, a Crucifix, a purple cloth, a Bible and signs and symbols of spring. If someone in the family is musical, the inclusion of music always elevates prayer.

3. KEEP IT SIMPLE

Engage in prayer and the Celebration of the Word throughout the Lenten season in ways that are simple and accessible for your family. Use the suggested Liturgy Guides and resources found on our website. Watch a live streamed or recorded parish Mass and share with one another what you heard in the Sunday Gospel and Homily. Utilize your favourite prayer to root your family prayer each day.

4. EMBRACE LENTEN RITUALS

Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving are important Lenten rituals that help us strengthen our relationship with God. A prayer routine invites God into the day-to-day pulse of our homes. Fasting is the action of choosing to go without something we enjoy. Traditionally, most Christians refrain from eating meat on Friday. Try to schedule "Fish Friday" on the menu. Almsgiving is an important act of sacrifice during Lent. Almsgiving is not necessarily a financial sacrifice, but giving of time and talents to serve those in need. Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving help us give the best of ourselves for God's glory.

5. KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING

Take time throughout the season of Lent to talk about the importance of preparing well for Easter. Consider these conversation starters in the home:

  • God calls us to work hard to show our love for Him and for one another during Lent through prayer, fasting and sharing all that we have. How is God calling you to grow this Lent?
  • Jesus sacrificed His life on the Cross out of love for us. Sometimes sacrifice is hard, but it can bring life to others. What have you sacrificed out of love for another today?
  • How can our family continue to prepare for the joy of Easter?

AN OUTLINE FOR THE LITURGY OF THE WORD WITHOUT THE IMPOSITION OF ASHES

After the family is gathered, a parent begins:

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

The parent(s) trace the Sign of the Cross while offering the following and encouraging the children, if necessary, to join them: "Whenever we gather to pray, we gather in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

INVITATION TO PRAY

The parent(s) may pray in these or similar words. Parents may ask the children questions or sharing with the children the purpose of Lent.

Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical season of Lent. In our ancient Christian tradition, it is a time of penance and fasting. We usually receive ashes on our foreheads at church or school. However, because of COVID-19, to protect everyone, we open Lent at home. Ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. This year, we even fast from ashes.

The parent(s) then bless children and one another by making the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of the children and one another, saying the following words: Repent, and believe in the Gospel.

A LITANY FOR LENT

The parent may pray the litany below and let the children know that the response is: Lord, have mercy.

Pope Francis tells us that another name for God is “Mercy.” We thank God for Mercy. Our response today is "Lord, have Mercy."

  • Encourage us Lord to do penance. R
  • Strengthen us Lord to resist. R
  • Show us how to live forgiving lives. R.
  • Help us to reject bullying, unfairness, and injustice. R.
  • You accepted death to bring us to eternal life. R.

OPENING PRAYER

A parent prays on behalf of the family.

Loving God, you sent us Jesus to save us from our sins.
Have mercy on us and help us fast, pray and give alms.
Forgive our sins and help us to see your love.
Amen.

GOSPEL PROCLAMATION AND REFLECTION

The parent(s) then play the following proclamation and reflection by His Excellency, Bishop Douglas Crosby.



The parent(s) are invited to discuss the video. Parents are encouraged to ask their children questions and/or share about their own understanding of Lent. Here are some guiding questions: What did Bishop Crosby say to us today in his message? What can you tell me about almsgiving? Why is fasting important? What can you fast from during Lent? How as a family can we pray together?

CLOSING PRAYER AND BLESSING

The parent(s) may invite the children to pray together the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, Glory Be or another suitable prayer.

The parent(s) may then bless the children individually or collectively by tracing the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads while offering a prayer in these or similar words:

God, as we begin the discipline of Lent, make this season holy by our self-denial. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.