ONE thousand little crosses marked the start of the period of Lent at James Sheahan Catholic High School yesterday.
Students, teachers and the school’s wider family came together for Ash Wednesday in Mercy Hall.
Father Paul Devitt conducted the mass and said Ash Wednesday and Lent are full of symbolism, from the colour of his robe to the ash marked on each person’s forehead.
The marking of the ash is an ancient tradition, Father Devitt said, but it has changed over the years.
“For someone to repent they would wear a sack cloth covered in ashes,” he said.
“[It is] a sign to others that you’re entering into a season of penitence.”
These days palms are burnt from last year’s Palm Sunday event and with Father Devitt marking the forehead to symbolise the commitment to Lent.
He said the cross is usually kept on the forehead for the entire day to show your community you have committed to fasting, prayer and good work for others.
James Sheahan Catholic High School principal Mark Pauschmann said the school prides itself on compassion, courage and hope, in keeping with the ideas behind Lent.
He said the mass was an important annual occasion for the school and its 970-plus students.