Imagine a Catholic who attends a morning Ash Wednesday Mass, then dashes off to work at a high-powered office in the financial district or a chic clothing store on Union Square. This sign of our faith will be misunderstood by some, and even as we witness to our belief in Jesus we must do so with patient charity, as some will not want to see our faith publicly displayed. Let us wear that sign nevertheless and hope that many will come to a better understanding of our faith.
In years past the newspapers would always send a reporter and cameraman to my parish for a story on Ash Wednesday and the Christian practice of Lent. After all, the majority of people in this country practice the Christian faith, so Lent is certainly a newsworthy item. But in recent years, Ash Wednesday has become less of a story. I kind of miss those nice reporters and the festive atmosphere they brought with their colorful stories about Lenten practices. Imagine my delight when CBS, NBC, ABC, the Chronicle, and even the Examiner showed up last Wednesday. They expected to do a somewhat negative story on our parish, but every child, every adult they interviewed proclaimed the faith by the Sign of the Cross in ashes on their forehead! I had a lovely time talking to reporters again, and we all got our news story on Lent. God knows what He is doing!