From the Catechetical Centre of the Archdiocese of Kingston
The first clear evidence of Ash Wednesday is around 960, and in the 12th century people began using palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday for ashes.Those who work with liturgy in parishes know that some of the largest crowds in the year will show up to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. Even people who seldom come to Church for the rest of the year may make a concerted effort to come for ashes.
What is Lent?
Lent is a 40-day period leading up to Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday. (This year, Ash Wednesday is February 10.) Lent is a penitential season. That means it is an opportunity to examine your life, give your struggles to God, and invite him to help you become the-best-version-of-yourself.
Lent is the 40 days before Easter in which Catholics pray, fast, contemplate, and engage in acts of spiritual self-discipline. Catholics do these things because Easter, which celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, is the greatest holy day of the Christian year (even above Christmas) and Catholics have recognized that it is appropriate to prepare for such a holy day by engaging in such spiritual self-disciplines.
Read each example below and identify which Spiritual Work of Mercy it best describes. Practicing these will assist us to grown spiritually during Lent.... And the rest of our lives!
Throughout the liturgical year, the Catholic Church makes certain changes to the Mass to reflect the liturgical season. Next to the change in the color of the priest's vestments, the absence of the Alleluia during Lent is probably the most obvious.
A good Catholic Catholic examination of conscience can be a great help in making a new start in the life of faith.
We use an examination of conscience to help call to mind our sins and failings during a period of quiet reflection before approaching the priest in Confession.
It's important for a good Catholic examination of conscience to be thorough. This will help you learn about things that you may not be aware of. It's also a chance to develop your conscience. This is a critical aid for the beginning Catholic.
Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
Confess your sins to the priest.
Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins and the number of them.
After your confession, do the penance the priest gives to you.
Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin, especially for those sins you were just absolved from.