The Southern Cross : April 2011
Page 10 April 2011 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross | news Why do we have ashes placed on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday? For older Catholics it seems natural, what we have always done at the start of Lent. To others it may seem a strange thing to do, perhaps referring back to past ages. In fact the use of ashes is a very ancient practice. In the book of Daniel, for example, we find the prophet saying, "Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes" (Daniel 9:3). For the ancient Hebrews ashes were a sign of sorrow and repentance for their sins. This remains true for us today, and is especially appropriate in Lent, when we prepare to celebrate Jesus' dying on the Cross to redeem sinful humanity. The prayer "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel" reflects this. Another meaning is captured in the alternative prayer, "Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return". Here the ashes remind us of our human weakness and mortality. Genesis speaks poetically of God forming human beings "from the dust of the ground" (Genesis: 2:7). This is important in Lent because at this time we also prepare to celebrate Christ's resurrection, which we hope to share. The Ash Wednesday service, in which the faithful receive ashes on their foreheads, is common to many churches. In Australia it is also observed by the Anglican, Uniting and Lutheran churches. The great feast of Easter is something that we share. Being dusted or signed with ashes reminds us all of our need for forgiveness and of the fact that one day we will die. More importantly, it also reminds us that Jesus' death and resurrection mean that we have been freed from a life burdened by sin and can look forward to eternal life with God. Glenelg, Glynde, Greenacres, Hilton, Kingswood, Marion, Morphett Vale, Salisbury North, Plympton, Seaford, Seaton, Toorak Gardens www.digitalhearing.com.au * Free Digital Hearing Aids are available to eligible Pensioners & Veterans.* 1300 557 745 *conditions apply Hearing Tests & Hearing Aid Fittings for Workers Compensation Clients. Private Clients & Self Funded Retirees are our Speciality. Free Hearing Tests M-SC0411 STRENGTHENING TIES: After attending the celebrations for the 350th Jubilee of the Catholic Church in Vietnam in January, Archbishop Philip Wilson hosted a lunch with the Bishop of Lang Son-Cao Bang, Joseph Dang Duc Ngan (pictured right), in Adelaide recently. The Vietnamese Bishop also celebrated Mass for Adelaide's Vietnamese community at the request of Monsignor Minh Tam Nguyen, during his visit to Adelaide. Glenelg Parish plans to sell two of its churches -- at Morphettville and Glenelg North -- as part of a proposal to reshape the parish for the 21st century. The move, endorsed by the parish pastoral council last month, follows two and a half years of community consultation. The two churches affected are no longer used for weekend Mass. Glenelg parish priest Father Anthony Kain said the changes were "significant" but they needed to be viewed in the context of "a church that is not static and which has experienced shifts in ministry through the parish and schools". "The four centres of our parish were built over the past 140 years for the needs that were contemporary at the time," he said. "Times have changed and our current conversation has led us to a new moment of discernment regarding the properties we have. They are the gifts and legacies of past generations of Glenelg parishioners and we gratefully acknowledge this." The Parish Pastoral Council will set up a strategic planning group for the implementation of the proposal, including approval of property divestment by the Archdiocese. The proposal also involves consolidating parish plant into two main sites, appointing a new business manager to cater with the increasingly complex needs of the parish and expanding the parish office to give it a stronger street presence. Glenelg plans for the future Faith matters Thousands of South Australians received ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday last month, to mark the beginning of Lent. The meaning of Ash Wednesday is the topic of our inaugural column Faith Matters in which the Catholic Theological College will enlighten us on a particular Catholic teaching or tradition each month. STEPHEN DOWNS, deputy principal, begins the series.