An usher and a mother holding an infant stand in the back of St. Stephen Cathedral during the noon Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 22, 2023. RILEY GREIF | WKC
At Ash Wednesday liturgy, bishop encourages all to find ‘inner place’ for prayer
BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
In his homily at the Feb. 22, 2023 noon Mass for Ash Wednesday at St. Stephen Cathedral, Bishop William F. Medley recalled a past Ash Wednesday he celebrated with a Catholic school.
He noticed that the youngest students were particularly fascinated with the crosses made of ash which were traced on their classmates’ foreheads, as well as on their own. In fact, at the end of Mass, one teacher pulled out a pocket mirror to show the little ones their own ash crosses.
Bishop Medley remarked on the poignant fact that even if the children didn’t yet understand all that was involved with the season of Lent, “they wanted to see the cross.”
Presiding at the filled-to-capacity liturgy, the bishop said that by virtue of the visible crosses marked on people’s foreheads, today the faith “has a public face; a public dimension,” and said this is a good witness.
He referenced the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus tells his disciples to embrace humility in doing good, rather than seeking the praise of others, and challenged the faithful to remember others in their Lenten sacrifices.
Bishop Medley also spoke on Jesus’ instruction to go to an inner room to pray so that “your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
“All of us should find that inner room within ourselves,” said the bishop.
He acknowledged those whose lives are busy, especially young mothers, and encouraged them that even if they do not have a physical space for quiet, that they could pause for a quiet moment in their hearts.
“Go to that inner space and seek a peace that may be found in that place,” he said. “Find that inner room, celebrate it, and thank God.”