What is the symbolism of ashes on Ash Wednesday?

ashAshes have a long tradition in the Catholic Church, finding its roots in the Old Testament.
Ash Wednesday in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is focused, not surprisingly, on the imposition of ashes on all the faithful who attend Mass or a prayer service. This ceremony is relatively brief, but has rich symbolism that is sometimes forgotten.
First of all, the ashes used are typically created at the parish church through the burning of palm branches. These palm branches were blessed on Palm Sunday the year before, which connects the beginning of Lent to the end of Lent, when we remember the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The penitential season begins with the crucifixion and ends with the crucifixion.

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Padre Pio’s powerful words of advice when a pandemic hit Italy

web3 father pio padre pio operapadrepio itPeople in Italy were terrified by a worldwide pandemic in 1918 and asked Padre Pio what they should do. During the summer of 1918, Italy was hit hard by the Spanish flu, forcing schools to close down and localbusinesses to halt. It was a scary time to be alive, as everyone appeared to get infected by this wild virus.
Many were frightened by this sudden turn of events, and in Italy they turned to Padre Pio.
In the biography Padre Pio: The True Story, published by Our Sunday Visitor, the mystic saint’s response to this worldwide pandemic is recorded, with the powerful words of advice he gave to one of his spiritual daughters.

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Here is why we need the saints

swieciThe prayers of those who have gone before us are powerful.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. (1 Tim. 2:5-6)
It’s because of these words that many non-Catholic Christians don’t believe we need saints to pray for us in Heaven. Jesus is the one mediator we have with the Father. “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.” (Heb. 7:26) The Bible says that God hears every single prayer his children address Him (Psalms 32, 22; Lk. 11:9). This is the reason St. Paul always asked the faithful to pray for other communities and for himself (Ep. 6:18-20; Cor. 4:3-4). In Heaven. an angel offers “prayers of all God’s people” (Rev. 8:3) to the Lord. All Catholics know that it’s through Christ and in Christ that these prayers take on their significance. So, how can we gauge the efficiency of prayers said by someone who is in Heaven?

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