We recently received the Imposition of Ashes together as a Faith and learning community on Ash Wednesday. Our Chaplain, Fr McGuckin, administered the imposition of the Ashes during our Ash Wednesday Service as our STMC gymnasium was transformed into a Holy place. Ash Wednesday is always a very special day, as we came together in fellowship with one another and received ashes on our foreheads we were reminded of the opportunity that Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent provides us.
Receiving ashes on our foreheads is a visible reminder that we are entering into the Lenten season. During Lent, we are being given an opportunity for personal conversion and for internal renewal. In many ways, Lent is about getting a fresh start, reinventing ourselves, and becoming a better version of ourselves; this is really a rare and powerful thing that God is offering us. Lent provides us an opportunity to be a little better every day than we were the previous day, and to be completely open to what God wants for us, at to be open to what God is asking us to do.
During our Ash Wednesday Service, we were also graced by the presence of Vice Principal, Paul Fontana and three students from All Hallows High School in the Bronx. The visiting staff and students from All Hallows also reminds us that Lent is a time for charitable works, for giving, and for standing in solidarity with those marginalized by poverty and injustice. Each year, STMC is committed to collecting missions money that goes to pay one full tuition for one year for a student at All Hallows High School.
My wife is Ukrainian and a very important Saint in the Ukrainian Orthodox church is St. John Chrysostom. On the topic of Lent, and charitable acts, St. John Chrysostom said, “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing.” St. John is reminding us of what Jesus said in Matthew, Chapter 6. When we make small sacrifices during Lent, when we give money to charities, when we volunteer, when we fast or give up something we like, we don’t need to tell people about our personal suffering, it is much more important that do something for others, that we ease the suffering of someone else.
Lent is a reminder to all of us that we are one, that we are a team, that we are all in this together. I hope that receiving ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday reminded all of us that Jesus asked us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves; I hope that receiving ashes on our foreheads reminded us that Jesus asked us to give preferential treatment to poorest of our neighbors, and to help them and to pray for them. During Lent, we must also remember our Christian Brother Communities in most need, our communities in the South Bronx, in Brownsville, Texas, in Peru, and in Dominica.
On Ash Wednesday, when the ashes were imposed on our foreheads, and we heard the words, “Remember that YOU are dust, and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.” I hope that this ritual that we experienced together reminded all of us that we are human, an we are flawed, but we are also a team, and, we are in this together, and, every day of our Lenten journey, we have been given an opportunity to improve a little bit and to work towards becoming the best version or ourselves; most importantly, we have been given an opportunity to help someone in need and to stand in solidarity with those marginalized by poverty and injustice.
Take care, be well, stay safe, and God bless you.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, Forever!
The Admin Team,
Joe Adams, Principal | Cassie Lauang, Vice-Principal | Ethan Shoemaker, Vice-Principal