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A message from Bishop Brian on the blessing of Ash Wednesday Ashes

February 19, 2020

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ

In early January, I wrote to the faithful of the diocese at a time when many within our communities were still fighting the bushfires or trying to come to terms with the feelings of loss and grief associated with the bushfires. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of communities throughout our diocese in the Shoalhaven, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly regions, seeing the destruction firsthand. Importantly, these trips gave me the chance to simply be with, pray with and listen to the many stories from shocked, impacted, overwhelmed and brave people.

There have been incredible outpourings of support for the communities impacted by these fires. I continue to be heartened by the stories of unity and generosity that continue to bring people together in the aftermath of the fires, from within the impacted communities, from our diocesan agencies, our parishes and wider communities who have sought to generously donate money, time, goods and services to help those impacted and to help communities rebuild.

As a way of continuing to prayerfully show solidarity with each other, we have collected ashes from areas representing the diocesan regions ravaged by fire. I have blessed them this morning at St Francis Xavier Cathedral and have invited my clergy to add them to the ashes of their own community to be used in Ash Wednesday celebrations.

I trust that they will be, as always, a powerful symbol of the start of our Lenten journey, but particularly this year, a powerful symbol of our journeying with others in our diocese, especially those amongst us in the recovery phase.

Yours in Christ

Most Rev Brian G Mascord DD

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