But something that makes me even happier is to see families come to Mass on Ash Wednesday without leaving it to the school to ensure their children attend Mass. I was taken very much by suprise by the excellent attendance at both morning and evening Mass today. I had quite underestimated the likely attendance and very nearly ran out of Sacred Hosts. As the prophet Joel said: "Call the people together, summon the community, assemble the elders, gather the children, even the infants at the breast." Little children and tots were delighted to be ashed along with their parents and older siblings. Non-catholic members of the families were also amongst those who came forward. I'm not sure if they were expecting the customary blessing at communion, but they got ashes and seemed pleased to be one with the rest of their families on this occasion.
A number of people clearly made a huge effort. After this evening's Mass, I was asked to give ashes to a number of people who had arrived too late to receive the ashes at Mass as they had struggled to get home from work and get their families together, yet they made it. Well done to them.
We also had an adequate number of young servers at both Masses.
There was a very happy atmosphere after Mass, very much in keeping with Our Lord's injunction not to put on gloomy looks when fasting...
Anyone else notice a good attendance at Mass today?
I was very grateful to Fr Z's commentary on the Collect and the translation of the Prayer over the People provided by one of his commentors. I used the version of the Collect from the English Breviary which remains authorised for use in the Mass:
Support us, Lord, as with this Lenten fast
we begin our Christian warfare,
so that in doing battle against the spirit of evil
we may be armed with the weapon of self-denial.