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Cruz Rios wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a public school teacher who is Catholic.

Most of the teachers and administrators are non-Catholic. On Ash Wednesday, I had ashes on my forehead. Many remarked about my ashes.

  • How do I answer them?

Cruz Rios

  { How do I reply to non-Catholics who ask about the ashes on my forehead from Ash Wednesday? }

Mike replied:

Dear Cruz,

When ashes are applied to our foreheads, the words (based on Genesis 3:19) used traditionally to accompany this gesture are:

Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.

In the 1969 revision of the Roman Rite, an alternative formula (based on Mark 1:15) was introduced:

Repent, and believe in the Gospel.

My colleagues may have a different take but I would tell other non-Catholics that,

This <point your finger to your forehead> represents all that the world has to offer me as a Catholic Christian and faithful Christians worldwide are setting their aim toward something higher; something heavenly.

Although it should be a 24/7 activity year-round, Lent is a 40-day period where we work toward purifying our soul.

Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent, before beginning his public ministry, fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by the Devil.

Just my two cents.

Mike

Cruz replied:

Hello Mike,

Thank you for your answer. I appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Cruz Rios

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