The Holy Season of Lent
21 February 2007 is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the holy season of Lent, which prepares us to worthily celebrate the holy Feast of Easter.
Lent encompasses a period of 40 days, which recalls the journey of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land which lasted for a long 40 years!-a number that signifies perfection in the Bible. Slowly and sometimes even painfully, God leads his people through constant conversion to become a people truly holy and sacred to him and so enter into his promised inheritance.
Like Israel, let us allow ourselves to be led by Yahweh into the desert, where in the practice of a continual dying to self we may learn to live according to God's will and so be worthy to share in the newness of our risen life in the Risen Lord.
From the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar (GNLYC)
27. Lent is a preparation for the celebration of Easter. For the Lenten liturgy disposes both catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery: catechumens, through the several stages of Christian initiation; the faithful, through reminders of their own baptism and through penitential practices.
28. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord's Supper exclusive. The Alleluia is not used from the beginning of Lent until the Easter Vigil.
29. On Ash Wednesday, a universal day of fast, ashes are distributed.
30. The Sundays of this season are called the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent. The Sixth Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week, is called Passion Sunday
From the Ministry for Liturgical Affairs
of the Archdiocese of Manila:
Palms to Ashes in Preparation for Lent
Brief Catechesis and Imposition of Ashes