Prayer for Ash Wednesday and General Intercessions.

God our Father,
on the day of Baptism
we were claimed for Christ our Saviour
by the sign of his Cross.
On this Ash Wednesday, and in this time of pandemic,
we come before you,
desiring to fulfil our baptismal promises,
by dying to selfishness and by living for Christ.

And so, we pledge ourselves, in this Lenten season,
to pray, to fast, and to give alms.

in your kindness, pour out your blessing upon us,
as we make this threefold pledge:

The faithful are invited to repeat the following after the priest; while making the pledge the forehead is signed with the Cross, three times with the thumb.

• I pledge myself to a time of prayer each day –
as I do so, I sign my forehead + with the sign of the Cross.

• I pledge myself to fast by denying myself some luxury –
as I do so, I sign my forehead + with the sign of the Cross.

• I pledge myself to give alms this Lent,
by supporting Trocaire, or some other charity –
as I do so, I sign my forehead + with the sign of the Cross.

By your grace, may we keep this Lenten pledge,
in preparation for the joy of Easter.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

General Intercessions

Brothers and sisters,
as we begin this Lenten season, let us pray, not only for ourselves and our needs, but also for all peoples and nations:

• That our Lenten pledge to pray, to fast, and to give alms, may be a source of growth and energy for us as we seek to be of service in our society;
Let us pray to the Lord. R/. Lord, hear our prayer.

• That those in authority may seek the ways of justice so that the peoples of the world may be united in peace and harmony;
Let us pray to the Lord. R/. Lord, hear our prayer.

• That the cry of this wounded earth, our common home, would touch our hearts, and moves us to greater care and gratitude;
Let us pray to the Lord. R/. Lord, hear our prayer.

• That the sick, and those who have grown weak under the burden of years, may know, through our prayers and concern, the presence of Christ;
Let us pray to the Lord. R/. Lord, hear our prayer.

• That doctors, nurses, and all who work in our hospitals, and all those who look after the sick and the elderly, may be blessed for the quality and dignity of life which they bring to those in their care;
Let us pray to the Lord. R/. Lord, hear our prayer.

• That those saddened by the death of family or friends may find comfort in Christ, and that those who have gone before us in faith now rest in Christ;
Let us pray to the Lord. R/. Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, we, who desire to serve you with all our heart,
confidently ask your help; may we now know your mercy and love in our lives. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Reflection and Prayer for the season of Lent.

Sunday: Peace in the World.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
“Conflicts and wars continue uninterrupted. Tragically, many regions and communities can no longer remember a time when they dwelt in security and peace. Numerous cities have become epicentres of insecurity: citizens struggle to maintain their normal routine in the face of indiscriminate attacks by explosives, artillery and small arms. Children are unable to study. Men and women cannot support their families.” (Pope Francis)
Our Father………

Monday: Migrants.

“The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up, and taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt.” (Matthew 2:13-14)
“People are being forced to take flight, leaving behind not only their homes but also their family history and their cultural roots…….May we never yield to the temptation to disregard others, especially those in greatest need, and to look the other way; instead, may we strive daily, in concrete and practical ways to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another.” (Pope Francis)
Our Father……

Tuesday: The Sick.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew,11:28-29)
“I renew my appeal to political leaders and the private sector to spare no effort to ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines and to the essential technologies needed to care for the sick, the poor and those who are most vulnerable. The pandemic and other events that marked humanity’s path this past year have taught us how
important it is to care for one another……In the face of the pandemic we have realized that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disorientated, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together. (Pope Francis)
Our Father……

Wednesday: The Carers.

“Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and all kinds of illness. And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labours are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers to his harvest.’” (Matthew9:35-37)
“I think too of physicians and nurses, pharmacists, researchers, volunteers, chaplains and the personnel of hospitals and healthcare centres. They have made, and are continuing to make, great sacrifices to be present to the sick, to alleviate their sufferings and to save their lives; indeed, many of them have died in the process.” (Pope Francis)
Our Father…..

Thursday: Trócaire.

Then they will say to him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you? “And the King will answer, ‘I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:37-41)
“The first generation of Christians shared what they had, so that no one among them would be in need. They strove to make their community a welcoming home, concerned for every human need and ready to care for those most in need. It became customary to make voluntary offerings in order to feed the poor, bury the dead and care for orphans, the elderly and victims of disasters.” (Pope Francis)
Our Father……

Friday: The Forgiveness of Sins.

“Jesus said, “Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? In truth I tell you, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” (Matthew 18:12-14)
Jesus’ life and ministry represent the supreme revelation of the Father’s love for humanity. In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus showed himself to be the one consecrated by the Lord and ‘sent to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.’ These messianic actions bear eloquent witness to the mission he received from the Father……At the culmination of his mission, Jesus gave the ultimate proof of his care for us by offering himself on the cross to set us free from the slavery of sin and death. By the sacrificial gift of his life, he opened for us the path to love. To each of us he says, ‘Follow me; go and do likewise.’
(Pope Francis)
Our Father……

Saturday: The Earth

Jesus said, “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them…….Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field, will he not much more look after you?” (Matthew 6:26-30)

This past year has taught us how important it is to care for one another and for creation in our efforts to build a more fraternal society……. In the Bible, the book of Genesis shows from its very first pages the importance of care or protection in God’s plan for humanity. It highlights the relationship between mankind and the earth, and among ourselves as brothers and sisters. In the biblical account of creation, God entrusts the garden ‘planted in Eden’ to Adam’s care, to “till it” and “keep it”. This entails making the earth productive, while at the same time protecting it and preserving its capacity to support life.” (Pope Francis)
Our Father……

(Quotes attributed to Pope Francis are taken from his message for the 54th World Day of Peace, “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace”, 1st January 2021.)


Ash Wednesday 2021 will be mostly without ashes but families can pray, fast and be generous – Archbishop Eamon Martin

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has said that while Ash Wednesday 2021 will be mostly without ashes, families can still pray, fast and be generous this Lent.

The archbishop was speaking as the Church prepares to celebrate the Season of Lent in the context of Covid-19 restrictions.

Archbishop Martin said, “The season of Lent is a forty day penitential period leading up to Holy Week and Easter when Christians mark the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Catholics the beginning of  Lent is traditionally marked by a day of fasting and by the distribution of ashes on the foreheads of church-goers.  Believers are encouraged to make a commitment to prayer, charity and fasting or self-denial. Many Catholics make Lenten promises or resolutions to mark the importance of this holy season.

“This year, with the strong ‘Stay at Home’ message from public health authorities, north and south, it will not be possible for Catholics to gather in Church buildings to receive the ashes, which are normally applied to the forehead in the shape of the sign of the cross. The words used are Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”, or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.  At this time when gathering for public worship is suspended, parishes will continue to mark Ash Wednesday using online services over webcam and also by encouraging family prayer services in the home. The Northern Pastoral Network, for example, has prepared resources which are being made available to families (see  Instead of the usual ashes, families are being encouraged to keep the fast, to make their normal Lenten promises, and to consider making little crosses to wear using black ribbon or card.

Check out: Microsoft Word – Ash Wednesday and Lent 2021 a.docx (

See also:

See also:

Lenten Calendar: REL_DL_LentenCalendar2021-1.pdf (