Lent is among us… and for the orthodox Catholic Christians in the house, it will get on them in the form of Ash Wednesday.

In case you don’t know, or don’t work with any liturgical Catholics and ask them, “Dude, what’s up with your forehead,” this hallowed day is the first day of Lent.

Basically, it gets their mind right with the fasting (of whatever) has to occur until Easter. It’s about the simple things, the human things, the Godly things. However, according to the Washington Post, D.C. Bishops are getting all techie with it on this sacrosanct celebration.

In preparation for the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, the Washington Archdiocese is launching a campaign that will use new technologies such as YouTube as well as old-fashioned printed invitations to try to draw lapsed Catholics back to church. The archdiocese has an estimated 580,000 Catholics, according to spokeswoman Susan Gibbs, but only about one-quarter attend Mass every Sunday. The $75,000 marketing blitz, with the slogan “Longing for something? Maybe it’s God?” is designed to increase that percentage.

ash-wednesdayYeah, because nothing quite says, “Come back to Jesus” like “Put some of this soot on your forehead, you big fat sinner.”

But you know, I actually applaud this effort. At least they aren’t doing another bake sale or community theater to get folk walking in the door. There are many, many people who used to warm a pew who are, you know, living in the real world. So they are divorced, shacking up or whatever else keeps them out of the sanctuary and in the bars.

Good thing the Bishops in D.C. recognize excommunicated doesn’t mean dead. Not taking a Eucharist doesn’t mean… well, Satanic.

“We wanted people to be able to ask questions,” [Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan] Gibbs said. “Sometimes they’re not ready to walk in a church door . . . or they might be embarrassed to ask a question, or they might be worried that they won’t be welcome. People who are divorced believe that they might not be welcome, and that’s not true. . . . We wanted to give people a way to . . . get in a dialogue about their faith.”

Dialogue is grand, as long as you don’t ask them about what kept them out of church or the confessional. Otherwise, that will become a monologue with the quickness. Which, by the way, makes sense since that is what most Catholics I know consider prayer to be in the first place.

MEMO to the frozen chosen: Jesus can talk back. Just listen carefully during mass. No, not to that cat with cold hands placing the sign of the cross on your forehead. But rather, when you are trying to rock it old school, chanting…

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris (Genesis 3:19 for those of you scoring at home).

…to take note you are not dust yet. Nor is the God you serve. Enjoy the day, and um, use soap.

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