Lent is the season of preparation leading up to Easter. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, it extends forty days plus six Sundays. Within the Gospel narrative it marks a turning point in Jesus’ ministry in which he has turned his face toward Jerusalem, resolutely travelling to the place in which he knows he will be killed. Within the Church year, it marks a time of self-examination and reflection on the saving action of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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The Book of Alternative Services tells us Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to renew our life in the paschal mystery. We begin this holy season by remembering our need for repentance and for the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On Ash Wednesday, ashes are used to mark us with the sign of the cross as we are told to “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

Lent is a time to examine our fundamental values and priorities in the light of the Cross. We are encouraged, in the name of Lord, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the word of God.