The 1979 Book of Common Prayer instructs the officiant to say the following words each Ash Wednesday:
Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful, were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.
Ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the Faithful as part of the reminder that though we be mortal, if we die in Christ, we shall be raised anew in Christ.
We invite you to join on Ash Wednesday for either the 12noon or the 7pm service. All baptized Christians are invited to make their Holy Communion at either service, and ashes will be imposed at both.
And please consider attending each Sunday of Lent:
- February 26: The First Sunday in Lent
- March 5: The Second Sunday in Lent
- March 12: The Third Sunday in Lent
- March 19: The Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare)
- March 26: The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Please also note the following Lenten opportunities:
- Midweek Communion Services at 12:05 on Thursdays beginning on 23 February
- Stations of the Cross on 2 March and 5 April at 7 pm
- A Lent Course, the History of Christianity will meet will meet for three consecutive Thursdays in March: 9th, 16th and 23rd at 4pm and 7pm,
- Sunday morning Old Testament Bible Study at 9:20 am
Finally, when considering what sacrifice you might make for Lent, and what alms you might offer, consider this–