This Ash Wednesday, which falls this year on 2nd March, Archbishop John Wilson will celebrate Solemn Mass in St George's Cathedral. In response to the Holy Father's call for Ash Wednesday to be a special day of prayer and fasting for World Peace, there will be a one-hour period of Adoration immediately after Mass, concluding with Benediction.
Ash Wednesday 2022 - Praying for World Peace
This year on Ash Wednesday (2nd March) Archbishop John Wilson will celebrate a Solemn Sung Mass at 6 pm in St George's Cathedral, to which all are welcome. Eucharistic Adoration for World Peace will follow immediately after Mass to honour the request of Pope Francis at last week's General Audience, during which he appealed for prayer and fasting on 2nd March 2022 for world peace:
“I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war,”
Speaking of the current conflict in Ukraine and the importance of establishing peace, Archbishop John Wilson recently commented:
"The shocking news of the invasion of Ukraine is an outrage before God and all right-thinking nations and peoples. We stand in solidarity with Ukraine and unite in responding to the call of Pope Francis for a day of prayer and fasting this coming Ash Wednesday, 2 March. We will fall on our knees before Christ, the Prince of Peace, praying for an end to this act of warfare. We welcome anyone to join us in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark for Mass followed by Eucharistic Adoration to pray for peace.
I also ask Catholics across the Archdiocese to please pray the rosary for peace on Ash Wednesday. God’s plan for the world is peace, not disaster. We pray for Ukraine and her people, and for the world’s leaders. No one wins in war. Everyone wins in peace".
About Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten Season, and although it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, many Catholics consider it important to receive ashes on this day, thereby marking their entry into a season of prayer, abstinence, fasting and almsgiving.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a period of 40 days (Sundays excluded) in which Catholics prepare for Eastertide. This period also represents the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert as well as the 40 years that the Israelites spent in exile.
The ashes themselves come from the burned palms from last year's Palm Sunday celebration: thus bringing us full circle to our last celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
The symbolic wearing of ashes dates back to the Old Testament, when the Prophet Job declared
"My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” - Job 42. 4-6
On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that we are called to turn away from sin, to repent and to believe the Good News of our salvation through Jesus Christ.