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US Bishops condemn failure of Senate to pass pro-life bills

Two bills aimed at protecting unborn children from late-term abortions and those surviving a failed abortion attempt were both rejected by the US Senate. The US Bishops reply by saying that “our nation is better than this”.

Pope Francis prays for war-torn Iraq

Pope Francis recalls the suffering of the people of Iraq assuring them of his prayers.

The Protection of Minors meeting a year on: An Irish perspective

The CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland speaks about the first anniversary of the Protection of Minors meeting and the ongoing work to safeguard children in the country.

Nigerians respond to the call of the Bishops in numbers

More people than usual have attended Ash Wednesday Mass in Nigeria following an appeal by the Bishops to use the day as one of national mourning, prayer and reflection for Nigerians –especially Christians, kidnapped or killed by terrorists or criminals in the country.

Vatican Workshop on Ethics and AI

A Workshop organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life on the ethical use of Artificial Intelligence is taking place in the Vatican.

Pope at Audience: ‘disconnect from TV, smart phones and connect to the Gospel in Lent’

Pope Francis holds the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Ash Wednesday, reflecting on how the coming forty days are a good time to make room for the Word of God in our lives.

Pope praises Brazil’s Lenten solidarity campaign

Pope Francis sends a message to the people of Brazil at the start of the local Church’s Lenten “Solidarity Campaign”, and encourages Catholics to combine conversion with service to those most in need.

Ash Wednesday

Reading 1 Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17

R.    (see 3a)  Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R.    Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R.    Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R.    Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R.    Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Verse Before the GospelPs 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Pope expresses closeness to those affected by coronavirus

Pope Francis expresses closeness to those affected by the coronavirus and to those working to care for the sick and to contain the spread of the virus.

Pope's General Audience: English Summary

Pope Francis invites the faithful to undertake their lenten journey of prayer, fasting and works of mercy to strengthen them in their resolve to follow the Lord on his journey through Good Friday to Easter Sunday. The official English-language summary is below: