I tell them the ashes come from burning last year’s palms from Palm Sunday. Next question? You got it: Will the ashes be hot?
Once we are clear that the ashes are cold and won’t hurt even a little bit, we turn to the reason for Lent. We talk about getting ready for Jesus at Easter, and how our fasting and giving and praying show our love for Our Lord.
One of our school-wide activities will be to make cards for home-bound parishioners. As for personal contribution, I encourage the children to give up candy or TV, or fighting with their siblings.
To finish getting ready for Ash Wednesday itself, we went to the church and practiced filing out of the pews and approaching the altar for ashes. I made the sign of the cross on their foreheads, just like Father Greg would do.
With little ones, you can’t take anything for granted. Because of the time we spent talking and listening and practicing, Ash Wednesday went perfectly.
As for the rest of Lent? Stay tuned. We have some pretty cool activities planned!