Ash Wednesday: 26 February

Every year Ash Wednesday readings call us to renew our commitment to the Christian life. It's the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent when we prepare ourselves for the great feast of Easter. This is a time to focus on what matters most.

In his Message for Lent 2020, Pope Francis writes:

"Christian joy flows from listening to, and accepting, the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This kerygma sums up the mystery of a love 'so real, so true, so concrete, that it invites us to a relationship of openness and fruitful dialogue' (Christus Vivit, 117). Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do with as we will."

 The richness of our faith is to be shared and not kept for oneself and using a contemporary context from Isaiah 58 Pope Francis writes:

"Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence. They are likewise present in environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit, which is a form of idolatry."

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Resources for Ash Wednesday


May Lent be for us

A time of learning to see

Where Christ is crucified today.

A time of learning

To recognize the complex roots of injustice,

To recognize the Gethsemanes

In our global community.

May we witness the suffering

Of God’s children

As Mary witnessed her beloved son’s suffering.

May Lent be for us

A time of learning to become

An Easter people,

A time of learning

To recognize the deep roots of compassion,

To recognize we too are called

To witness the empty tomb and

To announce

To a world in despair the Hope of the Resurrection.

(By Jane Deren, Education for Justice, from Classroom prayers for Lent, Caritas Aotearoa 2012)


  • Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Lent 2020 resources here (Includes a Reflection PowerPoint; Reflection Programme in te reo Maori, Samoan, and English, poster and school resources.)
  • Background to Ash Wednesday Readings here
  • From Psalm 51 Response  "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me."  Sung version here