March 2001, Volume 6, Issue 8   
Lent, a Time to Reflect
Rev. Mark Connolly
First Sunday of Lent
Second Sunday of Lent
Rev. Mark Connolly
Third Sunday of Lent
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Thought for the Month
Henry A. Tuckett
Lent is for Lovers
Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci
Prayer of Reconciliation
Saint of the Month
Catholic Corner
ashesCatholic Corner

Ash Wednesday

On this day, ashes are blessed and applied to the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of penance.

In the fourth century, public penitents dressed in sackcloth and were sprinkled with ashes to show their repentance. The practice of public penance gradually died out. By the eleventh century, it had become customary for the faithful to receive ashes at the beginning of Lent, the season of penance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. On Ash Wednesday, ashes may be distributed during Mass, usually after the homily, or outside of Mass; in the latter case, the distribution takes place as part of a Liturgy of the Word. The traditional formula for the placing of ashes on the forehead is, "Remember you are dust and will return to dust." The formula "Turn from sin and live the gospel" is frequently used today. In the Roman calendar, Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence.


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