Christchurch’s traditional Anglican-Catholic Ash Wednesday service to mark the beginning of Lent took place tonight at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church in Burnside.
The Catholic and Anglican Bishops of Christchurch take turns hosting the joint Ash Wednesday service.
This year it was the turn of Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, Bishop Victoria Matthews, to host the service at the Anglican Cathedral. With both Cathedrals unavailable due to earthquake damage, Bishop Matthews invited Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Bishop Barry Jones, to the Burnside church where he delivered the homily.
“This year, here in Christchurch, Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent will be observed in the ruins of a beautiful and gracious city, named as we know with a holy Christian name,” said Bishop Jones.
“Our Lenten works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are to be outward bound. So many people have told us that they are praying for the people of Christchurch and we must do the same. We must pray that the city’s leaders will be wise, compassionate and fair; that the good will, large- heartedness and good patience of people will be long lasting and strong; that the people of the Church will always bear witness to the generous love and mercy of God,” he said.
Anglican Cathedral Dean Reverend Peter Beck, Reverend Lynda Patterson and Catholic Cathedral Administrator Monsignor Charles Drennan led prayers at the service, and the singing was led by choirs from both Cathedrals.