Ash Wednesday 2020: How Our Little Roses is Celebrating
There are over 2 billion Christians in the world today, and Ash Wednesday is the start of one of the most important seasons in the Christian community. The first day of the Lenten season is named Ash Wednesday because Christians attend Mass and are marked with the sign of the cross made from the ash of the previous years’ palms used on Palm Sunday to signify penance. The date changes according to when Easter is each year. This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Wednesday, February 26th, 2020.
What is Ash Wednesday?
The day was likely recognized only in the 11th century. Ash Wednesday is not specifically mentioned in the bible, although the Book of Daniel does reference fasting to ashes, and many scholars think this was the start of Lenten practice. The modern practice of Ash Wednesday is continually evolving depending on your country and specific Christian sect.
God said to Adam “Remember you are dust, and to dust, you shall return,” this is what is spoken when parishioners receive the sign of the cross made from ash. It is a reminder to be humble and a symbol of new life filled with God’s love.
Why Ash Wednesday is Historically Important in Honduras
Although you can get ashes without going to church, that is not common in Honduras. The people of Honduras treat the start of Lent as a mix of holiday and sacred time. It is important to take the time to attend a church service and receive your ashes whenever possible.
Ash Wednesday 2020 (and the entire Lenten Season) is busy for the girls at Our Little Roses, as well as many others throughout Honduras. Giving, praying, and fasting are the three important components of Lent. Praying the Stations of the Cross is part of Our Little Roses’ and the community’s rituals and is performed every Friday following the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. The Stations of the Cross prayers include:
- Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-41)
- Jesus is Betrayed by Judas and Arrested (Mark 14:43-46)
- Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin (Luke 22: 66-71)
- Jesus is Denied by St. Peter (Matthew 26: 69-75)
- Jesus is Judged by Pontius Pilate (Mark 15: 1-5, 15)
- Jesus is Scourged at the Pillar and Crowned with Thorns (John 19: 1-3)
- Jesus Bears the Cross (John 19: 6, 15-17)
- Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross (Mar 15: 21)
- Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem (Luke 23: 27-31)
- Jesus is Crucified (Luke 23: 33-34)
- Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief (Luke 23: 39-43)
- Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Beloved Disciple (John 19: 25-27)
- Jesus Dies on the Cross (Luke 23: 44-46)
- Jesus is Placed in the Tomb (Matthew 27: 57-60)
How Our Little Roses Celebrates Ash Wednesday and Holy Week
Ash Wednesday 2020 is the start of six weeks celebrating the Resurrection of Christ with the processional cross. At Our Little Roses, the girls and staff attend the first celebration of Lent with a solemn reflection on their lives. The placing of ashes on Ash Wednesday is taught at a young age to the girls and they are excited to participate. Following receiving ashes, everyone gathers in the Holy Family Chapel for the Holy Eucharist. No meat is served on Ash Wednesday or on the Fridays during the Lent season. As part of the ongoing Lent celebration, the girls participate in the Stations of the Cross every Friday.
As the Lenten Season comes to an end, Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy week and includes the blessing of the palms and processions outside with the Eucharist. In the afternoon, everyone takes a bus up to the mountains to Our Lady of the Roses Retreat Center for three fun days of relaxation, swimming, and hiking. On Holy Thursday, a very special mass is held where the girls of Our Little Roses, along with Tia’s and staff, participate in the holy ritual of the washing of the feet.
This ritual is symbolic to when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples during the Last Supper as a symbol of humility and service. Once performed during the Eucharist, it is followed by an elaborate Agape meal shared by everyone in the Home. The girls share notes of love and friendship with one another to show Christ-like love and solidarity.
On Good Friday, the girls love to share their creativity by illustrating the Stations of the Cross on posters that they set on altars around the perimeter of the buildings. The procession begins after the day cools off and the girls take turns reading the meditations and prayers with the last four stations being held inside the chapel.
Saturday is the ceremony of the Veneration of the Cross. The cross from Good Friday is laid on the floor and the girls place a votive candle and stone around the outline to represent their transgressions and their prayers. This is an important aspect of Holy Week to the girls and they enjoy seeing all the candles flicker around the cross.
Throughout Lent, the girls take pride in their religious practice and work hard to treat each other nicely. We practice being Christ-Like and teach all the blessings we have in our lives, especially during this season.
By the time Easter Sunday arrives, everyone is ready to celebrate! We have the opportunity to place flowers on the cross and all say, “Alleluya, the Lord has Risen.” The girls are learning about the true meaning of Easter every year!
What You Can Do Today to Make This Ash Wednesday Special!
As the season of Lent promotes Giving, we encourage everyone to consider supporting the girls of Our Little Roses. While this can be done year-round by participating in our sponsorship program, choosing to become a sponsor throughout this Holy Season truly shines light on the importance of Giving. As a sponsor, you are part of our extended family to the girls. We encourage sponsors to write letters and even visit the home if they would like, as the girls appreciate being able to build a connection with their sponsors!
If an ongoing sponsorship isn’t right for you, there is still a way to help support the girls this Easter season with a special Easter Gift! Donations of any amount go a long way at Our Little Roses, and we are able to continue to celebrate the Lenten Season because of supporters like you that support us every day.
Contact us today and we can answer any questions you have about supporting the girls!