Parishes throughout the Diocese of Albany will observe Ash Wednesday as a day of prayer and fasting for peace, as requested by Pope Francis, who said, “I renew my invitation for everyone to take part on Ash Wednesday in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine, in order to be near to the suffering Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war.”
Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent in the Roman Catholic Church, beginning a period of prayer and fasting, culminating with Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger will be the principal celebrant and distribute ashes at the 12:15 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (125 Eagle St., Albany).
In his regular column published in the Diocesan newspaper The Evangelist, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger wrote, “As always, our spiritual life flourishes most when we are centered not on ourselves and what we are doing, but on God and, specifically, what Jesus as our Savior is doing in our lives. Lent is a journey, a pilgrimage of 40 days, which leads up to the events at the end of the life of Christ, and the beginning of our deliverance from the death of sin, to the promise of Eternal Life, his death and resurrection.”
Bishop Scharfenberger urges Catholics to support emergency relief for Ukraine as the humanitarian crisis grows. On Ash Wednesday, parishes in the Diocese are asked take up a Collection to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, which will allow the faithful to makea timely contribution and aid the victims of war in Ukraine, among many other projects the Collection supports in the region.
Other sources to support Ukraine emergency relief:
Catholic Relief Services:
Knights of Columbus Ukraine Solidarity Fund: