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  #1  
Old Feb 15, '07, 10:54 am
Dandelion_Wine Dandelion_Wine is offline
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Default Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

Howdy all,

I teach 2nd grade catechism and we have class the monday before Ash Wednesday. As part of the class, ashes are going to be present and apparently I get to put them on the children's forehead.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Any thoughts?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old Feb 15, '07, 11:11 am
jpjd jpjd is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

Ashes are a sacramental, just as holy water, holy cards, a rosary, etc are sacramentals. If you don't have reservations about handling those objects, there is no reason why you should have any reservations about distributing ashes.
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  #3  
Old Feb 15, '07, 11:12 am
Cristiano Cristiano is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

Ashes that are not blessed can be used at anytime for instruction purposes. This is the same idea of the non consecrated bread used for preparation during the first communion classes.
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  #4  
Old Feb 16, '07, 8:26 am
Dandelion_Wine Dandelion_Wine is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

Thanks jpjd. That's kind of what I thought.

Cristiano - they will be blessed. We're not doing an instructional thing but must be doing some sort of Ash Wednesday prayer thing on monday
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  #5  
Old Feb 16, '07, 11:53 am
John Lilburne John Lilburne is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

The distribution of ashes is only part of the Ash Wednesday liturgy. Official documents saying this:
"ASH WEDNESDAY
The ashes used today come from the branches blessed the preceeding year for Passion Sunday."
(Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1985, page 76.)

"ASH WEDNESDAY
253 On the Wednesday before the First Sunday of Lent the faithful, by receiving ashes, enter upon the season appointed for spiritual purification. ..." (Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgical Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1818-9, page 90).

"1656 The season of Lent begins with the ancient practice of marking the baptized with ashes as a public and communal sign of penance. ..."
(Book of Blessings, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1875-8, page 691. This section in only in the edition approved for the USA, it is not in the Latin original).

"125. In the Roman Rite, the beginning of the forty days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes which are used in the Liturgy of Ash Wednesday." (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 2001)

For children I can understanding having ashes to explain what they are and even giving a demonstration of what will happen on Ash Wednesday. But it would be wrong to have a ceremony on the Monday, anything like the one that should be on Ash Wednesday.

Who can distribute the ashes on Ash Wednesday?
In the USA there is the following, from the Book of Blessings:
"1659 This rite may be celebrated by a priest or deacon who may be assisted by lay ministers in the distribution of the ashes. The blessing of the ashes, however, is reserved to a priest or deacon." (The rite being referred to is the distribution of ashes outside of Mass).

This varies from the instruction in the 1975 Roman Missal:
"The blessing and giving of ashes may be done outside Mass. In this case the entire liturgy of the word should be celebrated: entrance song, opening prayer, readings and chants, homily, blessing and giving of ashes, general intercessions." (Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1985, page 78).

The 2002 Roman Missal seems to have the same thing. It could be argued that it overrules the Book of Blessings for the USA, since it is a more recent instruction. It has in Latin:
"Benedictio et impositio cinerum fieri potest etiam extra Missam. Quo in casu praemittitur Liturgia verbi, adhibendo cantum ad introitum, collectam, lectiones cum suis cantibus, ut in Missa. Sequitur deinde homilia et benedictio atque impositio cinerum. Ritus concluditur oratione universali, benedictione ac dimissione fidelium."
Missale Romanum, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2002, ISBN: 8820972719, page 200. The word "benedictio" means "blessing" -- the ashes are to be blessed in the ceremony outside of Mass.

I am not aware of any permission for lay people to distribute ashes outside of the USA. In the USA there is no permission for lay people to distribute ashes in Mass.

The Roman Missal has "The priest then places ashes on those who come forward, saying to each: ..." (page 77)

The Ceremonial of Bishops has:
"257 After the blessing, the appointed minister, a concelebrant or a deacon, places ashes on the bishop, as the bishop bows before him, and says, Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel or Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return.
258
Then the bishop again puts on the mitre and, seated at the chair or standing, places ashes on the concelebrants, the ministers, and the faithful. The bishop may be assisted if necessary by some of the concelebrants or deacons."
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  #6  
Old Feb 18, '07, 11:41 am
A2SciTeach A2SciTeach is offline
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Question Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

What about a "self-service" method of distributing, not within the context of Mass? If ashes are a sacramental, like holy water, could not then people avail themselves of the blessed ashes throughout the day?? That's what's happening at my parish - people are free to come to the church anytime during Ash Wednesday and cross themselves with ashes. Is that a problem?
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  #7  
Old Feb 1, '08, 12:53 pm
DeaconFrank DeaconFrank is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lilburne View Post
<snip>
Who can distribute the ashes on Ash Wednesday?
In the USA there is the following, from the Book of Blessings:
"1659 This rite may be celebrated by a priest or deacon who may be assisted by lay ministers in the distribution of the ashes. The blessing of the ashes, however, is reserved to a priest or deacon." (The rite being referred to is the distribution of ashes outside of Mass).

<snip>

I am not aware of any permission for lay people to distribute ashes outside of the USA. In the USA there is no permission for lay people to distribute ashes in Mass.

The Roman Missal has "The priest then places ashes on those who come forward, saying to each: ..." (page 77)
<snip>
Distribution of ashes is not a blessing so there is not a problem with lay people assisting with it. The blessing of the ashes can only be done by a priest or deacon.

Your own sources indicate a lay person can assist (Book of Blessings.)

The quotes from the Roman Missal is obviously out of context and too restrictive in your interpretation because if you take "the priest then places ashes" to mean a lay person cannot distribute then you must also conclude it means a deacon cannot either.

Ashes are blessed sacramentals. One can give a blessed rosary to someone without the need for Holy Orders.... except for the actual blessing of course.

Frank - a year late in this thread
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  #8  
Old Feb 2, '08, 12:07 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

any layperson the priest delegates can distribute ashes on Ash Wed., I have no idea who can use them at other times, and why the CCD students would not be expected to come to church with their families in the normal way on the actual day.
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  #9  
Old Feb 25, '09, 6:06 pm
Ockham Ockham is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

If a layperson can distribute ashes then why bother with the ceremony of a procession to the sanctuary? Why not just pass them around or make them available in the holy water bowls?

If this trend continues soon the day will come when laypeople celebrate the Mass just as long as a priest consecrated the hosts prior.

A layperson is your neighbour, your bowling buddy, or your coworker. Giving them the honour of places ashes on your forehead and offering a blessing lessens the role of the priest.
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  #10  
Old Feb 26, '09, 3:09 am
Cluny Cluny is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

**If this trend continues soon the day will come when laypeople celebrate the Mass just as long as a priest consecrated the hosts prior.**

Haven't you heard of a liturgical book called "Sunday Celebration in Absence of a Priest"?

It's basically the Liturgy of the Word, Intercessions, and Communion from Reserved Sacrament.

But the celebration of Mass requires a Priest to consecrate the Bread and Wine.
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  #11  
Old Feb 26, '09, 4:12 am
Ockham Ockham is offline
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Default Re: Who may distribute Ashes and in what context?

I have heard of Mass in absence of a priest and it worries me. Are you promoting that option?
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