BRISTOL – St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church saw over 50 people attend Mass Wednesday afternoon, to accept the ash cross on their foreheads.
Starting the holy season of reflection, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.
“We must erase and purify during Lent. We must exercise our Holy desire,” said Rev. Tomasz Sztuber, who led the Mass.
Sztuber explained that through Christ’s dramatic sacrifice, one can work on their relationship with God.
“Jesus shows us the way,” he said. “We must practice our external relationship with God. This external relationship begins in this life, or not at all. We must work on our friendship with God.”
Sztuber stated that fasting during Lent can be tricky, but asked the congregation to “find their place” during this holy time.
“Lent is a good time in our lives. Could we perhaps not do more for our community? We must free ourselves with any infatuation with this world. This is a time where we cast out what is bad and start cleansing the heart,” said Sztuber.
After prayer, parishioners came up to Sztuber to receive the ash cross on their forehead. The ash cross symbolizes that a person is dust and to dust they will return, and that a person should turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
Caroline Boyd, a resident of Bristol, has been going to Ash Wednesdays ever since she was a little girl.
“Ash Wednesday reminds me that sins will destroy us, and like ashes, we will return. Only God is my judge,” said Boyd.
Boyd, who came with her daughter, Lorie Glasser, said that her favorite part is receiving the body and blood of Christ.
“It’s why I come every year,” she said with a smile.
Glasser said this was her first Ash Wednesday in over 20 years.
“I called my mother and asked if she wanted to go with me. As a child, I always came to Ash Wednesday. I felt this sense of renewal and wanting to return,” said Glasser.
After years of being away from the church, Glasser said she felt a very comforting experience during Mass.
“I liked the way Father Sztuber spoke. It was very nice and gentle and I really like him as a reverend; he is very nice. When it came to receive the ash on the forehead, the reverend and the pastor would sneak smiles to us. It was just a very nice and comfortable experience,” said Glasser.
After blessing the ashes and the conclusion of prayers, Sztuber dismissed the Mass to “go in peace.”