In the morning, a large number of believers came to celebrate mass in the parish church. Ash wednesday marks the beginning of the 40-day fasting period until easter, during which the five sundays of the fast and palm sunday are exempt from payment.
The ashes had been burned by the city parish priest helmut hetzel in the services in the city parish church st. He blessed the virgin mary magdalene before drawing the cross of ashes on the foreheads of the faithful together with father vincent chettiar. For hetzel, the 40-day fast is commonplace, with many taking it upon themselves to make changes in their lives. The number 40 is a significant number in the bible. So the people of israel spent 40 years in the wilderness and jesus, like the prophet elijah, spent 40 days in the wilderness. It is a time of purification.
Many were still amused on tuesday and should continue to be so. Because it is a matter of changing attitudes, and not so much about superficialities. As the prophet joel had already said: "rend your hearts, not your garments, and turn to the lord your god!"