An early morning Ash Wednesday service at St Chad’s Cathedral attracted dozens of people.

The 7.45am Mass, led by cathedral Dean Mgr Tim Menezes, marked the start of three Ash Wednesday services on Wednesday 26 February.

At 12.15pm Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrated Mass, and at 6pm the Cathedral Choir sung.

The Ash Wednesday service was taking place in churches and schools across the Archdiocese to mark the start of the Lenten season.

At the morning service Mgr Tim made a sign of the cross with ashes on the forehead, accompanied by the words: “Repent and believe the Good News.”

Lent is traditionally a 40-day fast — a reference to the time Jesus spent being tempted in the desert.

It is a time when we can prepare our hearts for the solemn remembrance of Jesus’ death.

It concludes and is followed by the Easter Sunday celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

The six-week period (excluding Sundays) is dedicated to prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for the great celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery in the Easter Triduum.

Ash Wednesday is a penitent service that uses ash to mark the sign of the cross on the believer’s forehead, symbolising our sinful nature and need for salvation.

Photo Gallery at 7.45am Mass

Ash Wednesday 2020

Photo Gallery at 12.15pm Mass, by Con McHugh

Ash Wednesday, 12.15pm Mass, St Chad's Cathedral