Ash Wednesday 2022, “an inner battle of the heart”

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‘Lent is a time of spiritual activism,’ papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown says on Ash Wednesday

MANILA, Philippines — After an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Filipino Catholics again received ashes in the shape of a cross on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday, March 2. Over the past two years, the Catholic Church has been forced to change the Ash Wednesday ritual. to protect worshipers from COVID-19.

Ash Wednesday is the start of the 40-day Catholic penitential season of Lent, characterized by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Lent sets the stage for the observance of Holy Week, which commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ, leading to the celebration of his resurrection at Easter.

“Lent is a 40-day period of intense spiritual preparation, of inner preparation of our hearts, for the glorious celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter time,” said Bishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, in a homily at the Church of the Gesù of the Ateneo de Manila University on Ash Wednesday.

“Lent is a time of spiritual activism, inner spiritual activism, an inner battle of the heart, the unseen warfare of our hearts so that our hearts grow and be filled with the grace of God,” Brown added.

Here are some of the images from the observance of this Lenten tradition this year:

A lay minister from Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Bacoor, Cavite places ashes in the shape of a cross on the forehead of a parishioner. Dennis Abrina/Rappler
Hundreds of worshipers line up outside the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, in the town of Parañaque, to receive ashes on their foreheads. Rapper
Claretian Missionary Priest Father Educ Apungan rings the bell before celebrating Ash Wednesday Mass in UP Village, Quezon City. Angie de Silva/Rappler
Catholics receive ashes on their foreheads outside a church in UP Village, Quezon City. Angie de Silva/Rappler
Nuns hold the ashes of palm fronds as they help brush the crosses on the foreheads of the faithful, at the national shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Rapper
Father Educ Apungan toured UP Village, Quezon City, administering ashes to the foreheads of residents and passers-by. Angie de Silva/Rappler
Incumbent priest Fr. Robert Reyes places ashes on people marching outside the Election Commission headquarters in Intramuros, Manila as he urges the electoral body to uphold the integrity of the elections. Rapper

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