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  A Prayer Service for Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, falls on February 14 this year. You can get your family’s Lenten journey o  to a good start by going to Mass as a family to receive ashes on that day. The ritual marking of our foreheads with ashes is an inspiring and unforgettable way to begin Lent. We are marked with a cross of ashes on our foreheads, connecting us to the Cross of Jesus so that we may share the glory of his Resurrection.
One of two di erent Scriptures may be used. The first is “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). The second is “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (based on Genesis 3:19). After Adam sinned, God said these words to him. God meant that Adam’s punishment was death. As Adam’s descendants, we have inherited his inclination to sin and his punishment—death. By the Cross of Jesus Christ, however, we are saved from slavery to sin and from everlasting death. Those who share Jesus’ Cross will rise from death to share his everlasting life.
Sometime before Ash Wednesday, make your Lenten plans as a family. Share ideas and then decide on things that you will do as a family—prayers you can say together, services your family can attend, ways to share family time and possessions with one another and with others.
• The adults in your family, of course, are required to keep the Church’s laws of Lenten fast and abstinence. (Check “Catholic Culture: Lenten Fast and Abstinence.”) But what are some sacrifices that you can make as a family? Is there a favorite family food or snack that all are willing to give up? Can the cost of this favorite be donated to a food pantry?
• How about a special family prayer time? You might consider praying a decade of the Rosary or choosing a di erent prayer for each of the six weeks of Lent.
• Are there people in your neighborhood or parish who could use your family’s help with chores or other acts of kindness? Is there a group you can help by sharing your family’s resources?
• Write your plans on a sheet of paper. Be sure to include a schedule of family prayer times and the place you will gather to pray, a list of the foods and other things you will give up, and the specifics of your good works. When your list is complete, have each family member sign his or her name.
Family Prayer Winter 2018
        A Service of
Note to Parents: More activities at © 2018 P aum Publishing Group, a division of Bayard, Inc. (800-543-4383) Permission is granted to reproduce this page for use by parishes, schools, and families using P aum Gospel Weeklies.

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