Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Season of Lent with the traditional imposition of ashes.
During the 40-day Lenten season, more than 80 million Filipino Catholics are enjoined to repent for their past sins, do works of mercy, and to personally prepare for the renewal of their baptismal promises on Easter Vigil.
On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics who are 14 years old and above are obliged to practice abstinence, and those aged 18 to 60 years old are obliged to fast. While, on all Fridays of Lent, Catholics aged 14 years old and above are obliged to practice abstinence.
Those pregnant women, manual labourers, and those who are ill may be excused from the requirements of fasting and abstinence, but are encouraged to take up some other forms of penitence or acts of charity or piety.
Holy Week is considered as the “highest point” of the Lenten Season, which ends on Holy Thursday before the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday signals the beginning of the Easter Triduum of Christ’s passion and death on Good Friday, burial on Holy Saturday, and resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Easter Triduum is described as the most solemn celebration in the Church liturgical year.
The renewal of baptismal promises is expected on Easter Vigil and in all the masses on Easter Sunday.