Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned. Writings from the second-century Church Fathers refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance.
Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s Palm Sunday Mass.
There will be two opportunities for the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday:
- 12:15 PM Holy Mass
- 3:15 PM – 3:25 PM
- This event has passed.