Ash Wednesday 2021

Elena H, Mercy Beat Reporter

Photo by Creative Commons (MAZUR)

Ash Wednesday is a day that Christians, mainly Catholics observe. A lot of us have taken part in Ash Wednesday prayer services or masses, but we might not all know the true meaning of it. Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. I asked Ms. Lipka, a religion teacher at Mercy, to explain the meaning of Ash Wednesday and whether she felt this important day in the Christian calendar held any special significance for us this year. This was her reply:


Ash Wednesday reminds us of our need for God, a realization that has been front and center for people of faith over the past year. Biblically, wearing ashes usually marked a turning point for someone who was at their lowest low. That same meaning is woven into Ash Wednesday. The ashes we receive on our foreheads in the shape of a cross remind us that even in the midst of our sin and brokenness, Jesus claims us as His. Many people have found themselves at low points since we last gathered for Ash Wednesday, maybe some have even experienced the lowest low of their lives in this past year. However, Ash Wednesday reminds us that we do not have to remain there because we have a savior. As we receive ashes in the shape of a cross this year, (even spiritually if we are not able to physically receive them) may we be reminded that Jesus paid the price for us even amidst our brokenness. We have a loving savior who has promised to be with us always, even in our lowest low. I hope that this Ash Wednesday will serve as a reminder that God has us firmly in His loving embrace.


Ms. Lipka’s words are wise and truthful. This Ash Wednesday may have a new and different meaning for many of us than in past years. The year 2020 was rough for everyone who experienced it. In 2021, Ash Wednesday should serve as a time for reflection and remembrance of 2020. We made it through one of the toughest years some of us will ever face, but God was there with us. He never left our sides.