Even more of them engage in some form of Lenten tradition in their personal lives during the forty days that follow. However, after Easter, studies show that their participation wanes and their connection to the church is often lost (at least until Christmas or the next Ash Wednesday).
This momentary experience, though, is an occasion of hope for the Church. As the world moves through uncertain times, this annual phenomenon seems to touch the heart and soul of so many people, as it has for centuries. For ages, the Lenten season has been a source of refuge and stability in the midst of anxiety and crisis.
More importantly, though, is the hope that comes from active Catholics and church leaders who respond to this experience in a spirit of compassion, pastoral care, and intentional accompaniment.
Through the lens of the Scripture readings heard every Ash Wednesday, this book will help readers understand what they can do in their annual preparation for Lent, as well as what they can do on Ash Wednesday, throughout the Lenten season, and beyond. The goal for the reader is to find practical ways to be responsive and engaging-in their homes, within their local communities, and at their local parish-and be a part of the movement to transform moments of return into milestones along the journey of faith.
About the author: Paul Edward Jarzembowski serves on the staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, DC, working within the USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
|Each year on Ash Wednesday, millions of people-many who are not particularly active in the practice of their faith for one reason or another-return to church to receive ashes, including a significant amount of young adults in their 20s and 30s.