Why Now?

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My offices here in Washington, D.C. happen to be across the street from St. Matthew’s Cathedral. I don’t have a view—because I don’t have a window—but a colleague of mine who does just poked her head into my office and said, “I’ve never seen so many people going to Mass.”

So I went to take a look for myself. Here’s the view from a few minutes ago:

Now, the Cathedral is always crowded on Ash Wednesday, especially at the 12:10 Mass, which Cardinal Wuerl usually celebrates. (If you look closely you can see His Eminence in the center doorway, greeting the faithful as they exit.) But my colleague is right; I’ve never seen this many people waiting in line for Mass at the Cathedral.

Any one else noticing an extra excitement in the air this Ash Wednesday?

One of the reasons we make sacrifices during Lent is to shake ourselves out of our routine, to keep ourselves from taking for granted what must never be taken for granted. If nothing else, the Holy Father’s announcement on Monday seems to have gotten our attention just at the right time, liturgically speaking. Hopefully, especially in this Year of Faith, we’ll all make the most of it.

May we all have a fruitful Lent!

Stephen P. White is a fellow in the Catholic Studies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC and coordinator of the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society. The views expressed here are his own.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Stephen P. White is a fellow in the Catholic Studies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His work focuses on the application of Catholic social teaching to a broad spectrum of contemporary political and cultural issues. Since 2005, Mr. White has been coordinator of the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society: a three week seminar on Catholic social teaching, with an emphasis on the thought of Blessed John Paul II, which takes place every summer in Kraków, Poland. He studied politics at the University of Dallas and philosophy at the Catholic University of America. He is a graduate of the St. Patrick's Evangelisation School in London, England.

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