Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, marks the beginning of Lent for Christians throughout the world, and today Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez will be the main celebrant and homilist at the 12:05 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Lent is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday in preparation for the celebration of the sacred Paschal Triduum and the Easter season.

Blessed Ashes will be distributed to faithful in over 200 parishes across the five-county Archdiocese throughout the day reminding them to repent and believe in the Gospel as the Lenten season begins.

This tangible symbol is a reminder for Catholics to repent and deepen their relationship with Christ through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving throughout Lent. Those three practices are central to the observance of Lent in preparation for the celebration of the Sacred Paschal Triduum.

Masses at the Cathedral will also be celebrated at 7:15 a.m. (Chapel) and 5:15 p.m. (Basilica). There will also be a Mass in Spanish celebrated at 7:00 p.m. (Chapel).

The Cathedral Parish will offer the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation on weekdays at 11:30 a.m. (Basilica), Saturdays at 4:15 p.m. (Basilica) and Sundays at 9:00 a.m. (Basilica), 12:00 Noon in Spanish (Chapel) and 5:30 p.m. (Basilica).

Parishes throughout the Archdiocese may have alternative dates and times for this Sacrament in addition to already scheduled times. See a directory of parishes in the Archdiocese to contact a church near you.

The Bishops of the United States prescribe, as a minimal obligation, that all persons who are fourteen years of age and older are bound to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, on all the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday.

Further, all persons eighteen years of age and older, up to and including their fifty-ninth birthday, are bound to fast by limiting themselves to a single full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, while the other two meals on those days are to be light.

No dispensations from the obligations of fasting are being granted due to the confluence of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Keeping a voluntary fast throughout Lent is encouraged on the part of all.


Watch Mass from the Cathedral today at 12:05 p.m. here.