On Thursday, March 2, 2017, the children at the Saint Rachel Center received ashes on their foreheads to mark the beginning of Lent.
Father Rafic, responsible for the Jerusalem kehilla, presided at the meaningful ceremony that was held in the chapel of the Capuchin monastery. He was assisted by Rivka, member of the Jerusalem kehilla, who had helped him develop he simple ceremony. Brother Tiago, a musician from the Jerusalem kehilla, also came to animate the music.
The children were invited to choose a small pebble at the beginning of the ceremony. The children were invited to stand on the pebble and to feel the discomfort. This reminds each one of the discomfort of the behaviors we would like to leave behind during the Lenten fast.
Father Rafic then blessed the ashes and imposed them on the foreheads of each child, the mark of repentance.
With ashes on their foreheads, each child then wrote on a piece of paper one behavior that they would like to change during Lent, a Lenten intention. These were collected and will be given back to the children at Easter. Then they will be able to note whether their conversion was indeed a successful one.