Opening comment (for Presiders)
Welcome to the season of Lent. Today we begin the journey of penance and reflection that will bring us to the celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter time. Let us pray for the grace to keep Lent faithfully… (Pause for silent prayer: the Opening Prayer follows immediately.)
Alternative Opening Prayer (from 1998 ICEL Missal)
Gracious and merciful God,
you look with love upon a sinful people
and desire only their return to you.
We beg of you the grace to live this holy season,
to persevere in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
By the discipline of Lent, purify our hearts of all pretension,
bring us back to you, and make the whole Church ready
to celebrate the mysteries of Easter.
Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
holy and mighty God for ever and ever.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings (for Ministers of the Word)
Joel 2:12-18 — A call to the community to turn back to the Lord, fasting and asking for mercy. 2 Corinthians 5:20 to 6:2 — Paul’s message is clear: now is the time to be reconciled to God. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 — Jesus invites his followers to be converted in their hearts, and warns them against ‘making a show of themselves’!
The Blessing of Ashes follows the Gospel (or homily).
Introduction (by the Presider) Brothers and sisters, our God is full of mercy and compassion, so let us ask for divine help:
- That all who are blessed with ashes today may turn back to God during this holy season (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That those who have grown lukewarm may find new enthusiasm in their faith (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That people in need throughout the world may benefit from our lenten practices (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- That those who are sick because of COVID-19 may have comfort and that we may be preserved safe (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) God of mercy and compassion, you cleanse us and give us your help: hear the prayers your people make in faith, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
as Lent begins we offer you this solemn sacrifice,
begging that through our works of charity and penance
we may turn away from sin and harmful pleasures
and unite ourselves more closely to the passion of your Son,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
PREFACE (Lent 1)
It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Each year you bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts
and prepare with joy for the paschal feast.
By more faithful prayer and works of charity
and by celebrating the mysteries of our rebirth,
we are led to the fullness of grace as your sons and daughters.
And so, with angels and archangels,
with all the heavenly host,
we proclaim your glory
and join their unending chorus of praise: HOLY….
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER II
Lord, you are holy indeed,
you are the fountain of all holiness.
Send down your Spirit upon these gifts to make them holy,
that they may become for us
the body + and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Before he was given up to death,
a death he freely accepted,
he took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT IT:
THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
When supper was ended, he took the cup;
again he gave you thanks,
gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT:
THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT.
IT WILL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL,
SO THAT SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN.
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
The mystery of faith…..
Remembering therefore his death and resurrection,
we offer you, Lord God,
this life-giving bread, this saving cup.
We thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
We pray that all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ
may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.
Lord, remember your Church throughout the world:
perfect us in love
together with Francis our Pope and N. our Bishop,
with all bishops, priests, and deacons,
and all who minister to your people.
Remember our brothers and sisters
who have gone to their rest
in the sure hope of rising again;
bring them and all who have died in your mercy
into the light of your presence.
Have mercy on us all:
make us worthy to share eternal life,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with the apostles and with all the saints,
who have found favour with you throughout the ages;
in union with them
may we praise you and give you glory
through your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through him, with him, In him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
may the sacrament we have received in faith
sustain and strengthen us,
so that our Lenten fast may win favour in your sight
and help to remedy our human weakness.
Grant this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.
Suggested Songs: ‘God of Mercy and Compassion’, ‘Renew your hearts’, ‘Praise to the holiest’.