New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebration gives way to season of solemnity

Don Ames
February 14, 2018 - 6:36 am

Party time in New Orleans has given way to prayer and penance today for area Christians.

The 40-day sober season of Lent has begun.

New Orleans Archbishop, Gregory Aymond, says Ash Wednesday means it's time to put away the masks and costumes of Carnival.

"Today we are to take off, not physical masks, but those masks that we sometimes put on that keep us from truly being ourselves." 

The Archbishop hopes everyone had a wonderful Mardi Gras. Hear his entire Lenten message here:

Archbishop Aymond Ash Wednesday message

Archbishop Aymond says the next 40 days are dedicated to reflection and change in people's lives.

"And, during this Lenten Season, on this Ash Wednesday, we ask God for the wisdom to know our goodness and also the wisdom to know our sin and our weakness. And, God calls us to give that over to Him, to work towards true transformation, to work towards that new life that He calls us to."

The Archbishop suggests choosing a penance during Lent that's directly related to a weakness that we're trying to overcome. 

This year, Ash Wednesday also falls on Valentine's Day. It's an interesting coincidence not lost on Archbishop Aymond...

"Perhaps, besides it being Ash Wednesday, we can tell those whom we love that we love them. But, also, perhaps Valentine's Day this year can be a reminder of  how much God loves us. And that He's calling us to new life, and to a life of conversion during this Lenten Season."

Today is also a day of fasting, when Catholics are asked to abstain from eating meat.

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