Lent 'the time for saying no', Pope Francis tells Ash Wednesday faithful

Lent 'the time for saying no', Pope Francis tells Ash Wednesday faithful

Pope Francis bowed his forehead to receive a dab of ashes, then smudged ashes in turn on the heads of other faithful during an Ash Wednesday service in an ancient Roman basilica.

Ash Wednesday begins the Catholic Church's annual Lenten period of reflection in preparation for Easter. The day's rituals include rubbing ashes on the head of faithful in a reminder of mortality.

Cloaked in purple vestments, Francis clutched his pastoral staff as he walked in a procession between two churches in the fading afternoon sun on the Aventine Hill.

Lent 'the time for saying no', Pope Francis tells Ash Wednesday faithful

He strode into St Sabina's Basilica, a 5th-century church that is considered among the most beautiful in Rome.

Lent is a time in which many faithful strive to go without something, like sweets or alcohol, or do more of something, like donate to charity.

In his homily, Francis suggested his own approach to Lent, which he described as "the time for saying no".

He urged faithful to swear off indifference, "harsh and hasty criticism" of others and "simplistic analyses that fail to grasp the complexity of problems, especially the problems of those who suffer the most".

He also advised faithful to "say no" to "prayer that soothes our conscience" as well as "almsgiving that leaves us self-satisfied."

AP

More in this Section

Spacewalking astronauts add parking spot to space stationSpacewalking astronauts add parking spot to space station

UK Government facing calls to create ‘safe zones’ outside every UK abortion clinicUK Government facing calls to create ‘safe zones’ outside every UK abortion clinic

South African court restricts display of apartheid-era flagSouth African court restricts display of apartheid-era flag

Thousands sign up for Brexit party on Dutch beachThousands sign up for Brexit party on Dutch beach


Lifestyle

Up your veggie curry game with this delicious recipe.How to make Jamie Oliver’s stuffed curried aubergines

Riccardo Tisci has unveiled his Tempest collection, featuring a diverse cast of models.Is this Burberry’s most inclusive campaign yet? See pictures from the autumn/winter shoot

In search of close animal encounters, Sarah Marshall joins ‘Bear Whisperer’ Gary Zorn on a new adventure in Canada’s Cariboo Mountains.Glamping with grizzlies: Would you spend the night camping with bears?

In Ireland, a cohort of exceptionally talented women are leading the way in the production of sustainable jewellery, crafting beautiful pieces with the minimum impact on our planet, says Paul McLauchlanThese gems really treasure our environment

More From The Irish Examiner