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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: February 21, 2023
We list regular, weekly Mass times on this website. We do not list special Mass times. To find an Ash Wednesday Mass in your area, click on the button above to visit the website for a parish near you to find Ash Wednesday Mass times. Confirm schedule by calling the parish office.
Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important days in the liturgical year. It is trademarked by the ashes borne by the faithful after attending a Mass that day. This year it takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Ash Wednesday comes from ancient Church Tradition, with the 40-day Lenten season already being testified to by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. The distribution of ashes has also been occurring since the Church's earliest days. The ashes' purpose is to humbly remind the faithful that "...you are dust and to dust you shall return", which is found in Genesis 3:19. Ashes are distributed by a priest, deacon or lay minister in a cross shape on the forehead so people outside of the Church's walls can be reminded of Christ's humility and love. Palms that were given out at the previous year's Palm Sunday Mass are burned to create the ashes.
Every year, Ash Wednesday is one of the most heavily attended Masses that does not fall on a Sunday, despite it not being a holy day of obligation. The opportunity for a virtuous start to a penitential Lenten season brings Catholics to Ash Wednesday Mass. Receiving the Eucharist allows the person to experience Christ's comfort on a day where the common Catholic will likely be hungrier and more uncomfortable from practicing fasting and abstinence. Catholics are fortified against worldly desires and are united with the Church and the mystery of Christ in the desert.