Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021

Location: All Parishes
Contact: Your Parish for Mass Times

Parish Directory

Click on the button above to find a parish near you. Visit the parish's website to find Ash Wednesday Mass times. Confirm the schedule by calling the parish office before attending. Requirements, such as wearing a mask and physical distancing, remain in place to safeguard against COVID-19.

Ash Wednesday begins our Lenten journey toward the celebration of Easter. It is a day of fast and abstinence. "The ashes and the whole season of Lent are a time to refocus on our relationship with God and that relationship starts with a dependence on God for our very existence. To recall that only with the breath of God can we have life is motivation to reorder whatever part of life needs it. As God breathed life into the dust at the beginning he can breathe new life into those who have fallen into sin. The ashes are a sign of mortality and a sign of renewal in Christ," explained Father Erik Pohlmeier, diocesan director of faith formation.

The Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, asked that ashes be distributed differently this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a Jan. 13 letter to priests, deacons and seminarians, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor explained that the celebrant should address all those present and only say the formula once: (i.e. “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”). Then, as parishioners come forward, those distributing ashes should silently sprinkle ashes on top of the head of each person. Although it is not common in the United States, this practice is the standard in some parts of the world, he explained. "So sprinkling ashes on people’s head, not tracing a cross on their forehead. The formula is not repeated for each person but said only once for the entire assembly," he wrote summing up the change. Watch the video below for a detailed explanation and demonstration.