February 17 at noon and 5:30 pm Masses
Distribution of Ashes during the Pandemic
In accordance with instructions from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, there will be some changes to the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At the appropriate time in the liturgy, the priest will bless the ashes and then, aloud to the whole assembly, say the words indicated in the Missal: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This is said only once and not individually to each person.
Ashes will then be distributed to the faithful in the form of sprinkling on the top of the head. This method avoids direct skin contact between persons. While most Americans are more familiar with the placing of ashes on the forehead in the shape of a cross, the sprinkling of ashes is very common in Catholic cultures around the world.
The ministers and the faithful wear masks throughout this rite of distribution of ashes. While waiting in line, social distancing protocols (similar to those in place for distribution of Holy Communion) should be observed.
The Church considers the blessed ashes to be a “sacramental” – a tangible sign that inspires reverence as we enter into the holy and penitential season of Lent. While this is an important sign of our faith, it is by no means a requirement. Those who feel uncomfortable may simply choose not to receive ashes this year.