The first Mass of the forty days of Lent saw the whole school community in chapel to offer Mass and to receive the imposition of ashes.
The atmosphere in chapel was in stark contrast to our celebrations for St David’s Day and St Chad’s Day last week. Before Mass the altar and walls were draped in violet and there was a hushed silence which was broken not by loud organ music but by a solo voice singing the ancient chant “You are merciful to all, O Lord.”
On this one day in the year the faithful come forward and receive a mark on their foreheads – made from last year’s palm crosses - reminding us of our mortality and our calling to penitence.
Fr Kenneth cited Pope John Paul II: we do indeed all return to dust but it was in one of the billions of tombs across this planet at one specific time the Lord defeated sin and death for us all. He also reflected on the desert. It is a place of trial and a place where the light shines particularly brightly on those parts of our lives we would rather keep dark.
Walking with Jesus through the desert, may this Lent help us to see our souls clearly and ask ever more urgently for the never-failing mercy of God.