A Report on the Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance
Art Laffin (Dorothy Day CW, Washington, D.C.) reports on the Ash Wednesday liturgy held in front of the White House to call for the repentance of the United States.
by Art Laffin
Today, Ash Wednesday, from Noon-1:00 PM, over 40 peacemakers from the faith-based peace and justice community in the D.C.-Baltimore-Virginia area, gathered in proximity to the White House for a Prayer Service of Repentance. This Liturgy was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Groups that endorsed and participated in this prayer service included the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Assisi Community, Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Franciscan Action Network, and the Sisters of Mercy Justice Team.
Due to Pennsylvania Ave. being closed to the public for security reasons, we held our witness near the Peace Park Vigil site (going non-stop 24/7 since 1981) on the south side of Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. (see above photo).
Below is the program for the Prayer Service. Please see the attached moving reflections of Marie Dennis (who just returned from occupied Palestine) and Scott Wright. Also please see attached the Litany of Repentance and the Opening Reflection that I offered.
I am deeply grateful to everyone who attended this prayer service and for each of the program participants who read, sang and offered such inspiring prayers/reflections.
Toward the end of the prayer witness, ashes that were blessed by Fr. Paul Lininger and distributed among the participants. After receiving the ashes, peacemakers used a different batch of wood-stove ashes to mark the ground around us as a sign of repentance for the sins of the nation as well as our commitment to resist the forces of sin, death, violence and empire, and to follow the Gospel.
During this Holy Lenten Season, let us pray with and for each other, and for our church and world, that we can truly repent and convert our lives to making God’s reign of love, justice, mercy and nonviolence a reality.
With great gratitude,
PROGRAM FOR ASH WEDNESDAY LITURGY OF REPENTANCE
February 22, 2023 Noon-1:00 PM — Across the Street from the White House
Song: Prayer of Peace
Peace before us, peace behind us, peace under our feet..
Peace within us, peace over us, let all around us be peace…Love before us…
Reading: Joel: 2, 12-18 — Sr. Marie Lucey
Reading: From the writings of St. Oscar Romero — Bill Frankel-Streit
Litany–Sung Response: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2x’s)
Art Laffin / Judy Coode / Joe Wiehagen / Frank Panopoulos / Thomas Kenney Gould /
Amy Argenal / Jack McHale / Bill Frankel-Streit / Lauren Bailey / Sr. Carol Gilbert /
Concluding Litany Prayer–Cathleen Cooney
Remembering Truth-Tellers, Whistleblowers and Prisoners: Kathy Boylan and Mike Walli
Reflections: Marie Dennis, Scott Wright & Jean Stokan
Song: Ashes (by Tom Conry) –Led by Meade Jones Hanna
We rise again from ashes from the good we’ve failed to do. We rise again from ashes to create ourselves anew. If all our world is ashes, then must our lives be true, an offering of ashes, an offering to You. We offer You our failures, we offer You attempts; the gifts not fully given, the dreams not fully dreamt. Give our stumbling direction, give our visions wider view, an offering of ashes, an offering to You.
Then rise again from ashes, let healing come to pain, though spring has turned to winter, and sunshine turned to rain. The rain we’ll use for growing, and create the world anew, from an offering of ashes, an offering to you.
Blessing and Distribution of Ashes – Fr. Paul Lininger, OFM Conv.
Ash Witness Ritual
Closing Reading/Prayer from Seasons of Faith and Conscience by Bill Wylie-Kellermann – Bill Frankel-Streit
Song: World Peace Prayer
Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, From despair to hope, from fear to trust; Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace; Let peace fill our hearts, let peace fill our world, Let peace
fill our universe.
V. 1-Let justice ever roll, let mercy fill the earth. Let us begin to grow into your people. We can be love, we can bring peace, We can still be your way of compassion. Refrain:
V.2-Still all the angry cries, still all the angry guns, Still now your people die, earth’s sons and daughters. Let Justice roll, let mercy pour down, come and teach us Your way of compassion. Refrain: