On Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015, hundreds of Masses were celebrated throughout the Diocese of Raleigh as Catholics began the 2015 Lenten season. During the Mass, the faithful receive ash on their foreheads in the sign of the Cross, a sign of our mortality and a symbol of penance and continuing conversion.
The Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated noon Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral with three priests concelebrating.
In his homily, the Bishop said, “The sacred Season of Lent is a special invitation to embrace Jesus’ call to repentance.... Repentance comes from a Greek word, metanoia, which actually means a radical transformation and conversion on all levels of living: mind, heart, soul and body.”
“In today’s Gospel,” the Bishop continued, “Jesus gives us the tools to assist us in experiencing a metanoia: fervent prayer reflecting total dependence on a loving Father; and fasting and almsgiving as means for a joyful giving of self to others, especially those in need.”
On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are asked to fast, with guidelines allowing for one full meal a day. Catholics age 14 and older are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent.