Ash Wednesday Procedures

Following a decision from the Vatican about the distribution of Ashes on Ash Wednesday, Archbishop  Gustavo has directed that all parishes in the archdiocese will follow these new directives for this year. Below  is the text of the Vatican statement. 

Vatican modifies distribution of ashes for Ash Wednesday 

The Congregation for Divine Worship releases a note laying out the procedures priests around the world are  to follow for the distribution of ashes at the start of Lent. 

The health situation caused by Covid-19 continues to force changes on daily life, which are also reflected in  the Church’s sphere. 

Ahead of the beginning of Lent, on Wednesday, 17 February, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the  Discipline of the Sacraments has published a note detailing how Catholic priests are to distribute ashes. Instructions 

After blessing the ashes and sprinkling them with holy water in silence, the priest addresses those present,  reciting once the formula found in the Roman Missal: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember  that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. 

At that point, the note continues, the priest “cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask, and distributes ashes  to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places.” He then sprinkles the ashes on each person’s head “without saying anything.” 

Masses and plans for Lent are being determined at this time. We appreciate your patience as we move forward in making sure all our parishioners are safe while being spiritually nurtured at St. James.

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