Harford Christians celebrate start of Lent with ashes on foreheads

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Harford Christians celebrated the start of Lent with Christians all over the world, many by attending Ash Wednesday services, including about 100 at a mid-day Mass at Prince of Peach Catholic Church in Edgewood.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a time that calls us to repent, to look at what needs to be changed in our lives and to be better Christians, Father Jack Ward, pastor of Prince of Peace since 2010, said before the Mass.

“We make sacrifices during Lent so that we are reminded of those who are in-need and our obligation to help those in need,” said Ward, who is also pastor at St. Francis de Sales in Abingdon.

Rony and Elsa Matute of Edgewood attended the Mass to celebrate the beginning of Lent.

“We have to prepare spiritually,” Elsa Matute said. “We have to receive the world to prepare ourselves for the next 40 days.”

Henry and Fran Schwartzman attended Mass together and said they pray together every day. The couple has been married 55 years.

“It’s the beginning of Lent, the day we begin,” Fran Schwartzman said.

She likes to give up something during Lent, something “I really, really like — chocolate. It’s hard,” she said.

In the gospel Ward read during Mass, Jesus’ message was very obvious, very succinct, Ward said.

“Words are not about making yourself look good, but making other people better, that’s what Lent is really about,” Ward said. “It’s not about making yourself more holy, but becoming more holy by caring about the needs of others.”

Ward said it’s good to give up something during Lent, as long as people remember that it’s used to help other people.

“Do good for others, so others will be able to do good for each other,” Ward said. “We’re all in this together Our spiritual well-being comes from praying for and doing good for each other.”

He reminded parishioners of their beginnings as he made the cross on their foreheads with ashes: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

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