Ash Wednesday 2012.
I presided and preached at St. Boniface’s 7:30 a.m. service. Attendance was good - between 65 and 70 people.
I so much like these early and quiet services. They fit in well with my dally rhythm of life which begins between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. and ends at about 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday is my Resurrection House day. (Res. House is a day shelter for homeless people here in SRQ).
In my role as Chaplain there I took some ashes with me for the weekly prayer service.
First I explained the meaning of ashes:
1. They remind us of our mortality “Dust you are and to dust to shall return”.
2. They are a symbol of repentance. In “older days” those who had offended the community in which they lived and were repentant, would sit in the ashes of the trash fires just outside the village or town.
Second We said the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary ( our homeless guests are from both Protestant and Catholic backgrounds),
Then using my thumb I marked the sign of the cross with ashes on the brows of the ten or so people who were in the Chapel.
We concluded with a blessing
Rituals ( whether religious or not) are important and homeless people know them well.
I spent the rest of the day in silence - except that my mind would not stop chattering.