Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, fell this year on 10th February and the traditional distribution of ashes took place at both the morning and evening Masses in St Mary, Star of the Sea Church and also at Mass in St Mary’s Primary School.
Spiritual Exercises during Lent included:
– Daily Mass.
– Stations of the Cross on Sunday evenings.
– Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament prior to the Friday evening Mass.
– Sacrament of Reconciliation on Saturday evenings before the Vigil Mass.
The following ceremonies also took place in the Parish:
26th February: Veneration of the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help including the 2016 Jubilee Prayer.
29th February: Sacrament of First Penance.
3rd March: Service of Light.
15th March: Sacrament of Confirmation was conferred on the P7 children by Bishop Anthony Farquhar in St Mary, Star of the Sea Church.
SYMBOLS OF LENT
THE COLOUR PURPLE is the liturgical colour for the season of Lent and is used in the sanctuary to cover statues and pictures. Purple is a sombre colour which symbolizes mourning, suffering, humility, regret, and the willingness to do penance, particularly fasting. The colour also symbolizes both the pain and suffering leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus during His Passion when the soldiers clothed Him in a purple cloak and tortured Him.
SACKCLOTH AND ASHES in the Old Testament represent death and sorrow for sins. They serve as a stark reminder of human mortality which is a compelling reason to do penance. In biblical times, once people admitted their sins they covered themselves with sackcloth and ashes as a public admission of guilt, a plea for God’s mercy, a promise to reform, and a pledge to resist future temptation.
THE PALM CROSSES symbolize Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The branches remind Catholics that there are both triumphs and defeats in life but that if they maintain their friendship with God, they will ultimately triumph.
THE EASTER TRIDUUM is the period of three days that begins with Holy Thursday, continues through Good Friday and Holy Saturday and concludes on Easter Sunday. The Easter Triduum marks the most significant events of Holy Week recalling the three days that Christ spent in the tomb.
Fr Neeson celebrated The Easter Triduum in the Parish with the following ceremonies:
Holy Thursday – 24th March: Mass of the Last Supper followed by adoration at the Altar of Repose and concluded with Night Prayer.
Good Friday – 25th March: Liturgy in the afternoon in Honour of the Passion and Death of Our Lord including veneration of the cross and ‘closing of the tomb’. Stations of the Cross were celebrated in the evening.
Holy Saturday – 26th March: Morning Prayer of the Church and in the evening The Easter Vigil.