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Archbishop Broglio Celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass at Walter Reed

BETHESDA, MD — On Feb. 14 His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass with patients, staff, and clergy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Archbishop Broglio greeted the congregation in his homily with opening words of thanksgiving for “all of you who care for the sick and wounded and all of you who support the work of this great medical center.” He recalled the dedicated service of his dad, an Ohio physician: “Growing up I watched my father practice medicine, witnessed his care for the patient, and his sleepless nights when someone was gravely ill.  Yours is an impressive profession.”

Noting the significance of the occasion—Ash Wednesday marks commencement of the 40-day season of Lent—His Excellency called on the faithful to “unite ourselves to Christ who before He began His public ministry spent forty days in the desert fasting and praying…. Perhaps in a hospital many people offer their sufferings and see them as an avenue to relate more deeply with the sufferings of Christ.  When we are able to do that we understand how much we are loved.  If we look a bit further we also recognize that innate dignity of every person.”

His Excellency reminded those gathered that Lent is an opportunity for conversion. “Prayer, fasting, and charity are all means to further us in the process,” he said.  “When we truly meet Christ, we do not remain the same.  We set aside sin and are drawn deeper into a fruitful relationship with Him.  That touches every aspect of our lives. Indeed the Greek word for conversion indicates a change in direction, a turning around.  It implies that sharing of Christ by the witness of our lives….“… Conversion leads to the fullness of life and the victory that we celebrate on Easter Sunday.  We recognize that the Lord overcame sin and death and calls us to walk with Him in the newness of eternal life.  Remember the waters of baptism freed us from original sin and allowed us to be reborn into eternal life.  The end of our earthly pilgrimage will be the fullness of that life.  We continually invite others to walk with us.  We are missionary disciples who hear the call of the Lord and share it with others.”Read the full text of Archbishop Broglio’s homily here.

Approximately 150 U.S. Military personnel, patients, and hospital staff participated in the noon Mass in Walter Reed’s Memorial Auditorium. Concelebrating with His Excellency were Fathers Jason Burchell, CHC, LT, USN, and Cecil Corneille, CH (MAJ), USA. After the homily members of the congregation lined up to receive the ashes. Archbishop Broglio and his fellow priests marked their heads with the sign of the Cross as a reminder of human mortality. Before Mass, Archbishop Broglio visited the rooms of patients who could not attend because of medical conditions.

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