Students at Damascus College gathered yesterday for their annual Ash Wednesday liturgy.
The entire school group gathered to be marked by the sign of the cross and spend some time in quiet reflection.
Assistant principal Tony Haintz said Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, which for Christians marks the 40 days leading up to Easter.
“The ashes that students were marked with this morning symbolise human weaknesses and vulnerabilities,” he said.
“Easter follows Lent and it is a time of rebirth and of the washing away of our frailties and human weaknesses, the ‘grubby’ parts of our lives.”
Mr Haintz said Lent was traditionally a time of prayerful reflection, forgiveness and alms giving.
“At Damascus we have a tradition of supporting those who are most vulnerable in the world through the international Catholic aid organisation, Caritas,” he said.
“This fundraising appeal is called Project Compassion ... last year the students of our community with their families and staff raised a significant sum to assist those in need.
“It is this giving of alms that is a highlight of this period. What has been most impressive about students’ contributions in the past has been that it is not excess cash that they give, but that they look to give of their own time and talents to help others.”