Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, which is a time of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Since Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year, we encourage you to celebrate with your significant other either earlier or later in the week.
Ash Wednesday is a day of penance observed by both fasting and abstinence from meat. The law of abstinence binds those 14 and older; the law of fasting binds those who are 18 years old but not yet 60. Like other penitential days, Ash Wednesday begins at midnight and is not anticipated on the preceding Tuesday evening. All Fridays of Lent are days of penance observed by abstinence from meat. On Good Friday, like Ash Wednesday, our penance is observed by both fasting and abstinence from meat. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well a two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.
Ashes will be distributed at all Masses.
We are excited to announce that St. Mary’s now has access to free premium video content from Bishop Robert Barron, who has been hailed as “one of the Church’s greatest messengers” and is the second most-followed Catholic in the world on social media (behind only Pope Francis.)
Starting on Ash Wednesday, these videos will be delivered directly to your inbox weekly during Lent. If you would like to receive these emails, click the button below.
This year at St. Mary’s, we will be participating in the Best Lent Ever, a free email program from The Dynamic Catholic Institute. Receive daily emails with short inspirational videos, practical tips for your everyday life, and real-life stories to encourage you in your journey. Don’t give up just chocolate this year for Lent!
“The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” –Pope Francis,)
Welcome! Our doors are open and the light is on. The Light is On is an initiative of the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington where all Catholic churches across the DC metro area are open for quiet prayer and Confession. During Lent, we will offer confessions on Wednesdays from 6:30pm to 8:00pm starting February 21 through March 21. We also offer additional confession times throughout the week.
Every Friday during Lent (except for Good Friday), we will host Soup & Stations beginning at 6pm in the Lyceum. Families and their children are welcome and encouraged to join us for this Friday tradition. Types of soups served include Butternut Squash, Cream of Mushroom, and Creamy Parm Tomato. After the Soup Supper, everyone walks over to the church to pray the Stations of the Cross at 7pm.
The Basilica of Saint Mary
310 South Royal Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
313 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Monday-Friday: 9:00am – 7:30pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 4:00pm