Ash Wednesday and Non-Catholics

Hey all.

So, I’m getting some pressure from my wife to attend Mass on Wed night with her and the family. She was excited last night to learn and let me know that I “CAN” receive ashes on Wed with everyone. I’m not 100% sure I’m going to go or not, and if I do I probably wouldn’t go forward anyway. In not so many words I know I’m not welcome there (the father has even asked if I found a church yet), so I think he’d just pass me by anyway.

Anywho…Non-Catholics and Non-Catholic spouses: What do you do at Ash Wednesday? Do you receive ashes, or hold your hell bound protestant position in the pew?

Catholics: What are your thoughts? The same way I “CAN” get a blessing at communion time, many disagree with it. Do you disagree with non-Catholics coming forward for ashes. Should we hold in the pew?

Thoughts?

You do not have to do anything at any Catholic Mass you do not wish to do.

As to what “father” thinks of you, don’t you think it might be more profitable to have a nice talk with him to discuss your feelings regarding what you think he means when he says this or that instead of assuming he means the worst? And even if he means exactly what you think he does, why should that have any affect on whether or not you participate in a ceremony open to any and all? :slight_smile:

Anywho…Non-Catholics and Non-Catholic spouses: What do you do at Ash Wednesday? Do you receive ashes, or hold your hell bound protestant position in the pew?

I’m not a non-Catholic or spouse of one, but your description of Protestants as “hell bound” is inaccurate The Church doesn’t teach any such thing. I believe, from past posts on CAF, that you’re being facetious, but really was it helpful to your question to write such a thing?

Catholics: What are your thoughts? The same way I “CAN” get a blessing at communion time, many disagree with it. Do you disagree with non-Catholics coming forward for ashes. Should we hold in the pew?

Thoughts?

While you can most certainly receive the ashes, will you benefit from it if you do? I think that’s the pertinent question you need to ask yourself.

Many Protestant Churches have returned to this ancient custom
In fact there is a Methodist Church offering drive through ashes tomorrow.
Ash Wednesday is not even a Holy Day for Catholics, but it does signal the start of the most holy season on our calendar, meditation ,prayer and fasting are much more important.
I don’t think additional prayer and fasting in preparation for the most important dates in Christain history would hurt anyone who processes to believe in Christ.
If your non Christain than I would think it would be prudent to abstain unless you did it as an act of love for your wife. A little charity never hurt anyone.

That’s what I’m asking, is it really open to all? Why it has an effect is whether or not I’d like to receive the ashes and blessing from someone who rather I wasn’t there.

Yes, I was being quite sarcastic (even though I think a lot on here believe it and I’ve been told it). IDK if it was helpful, more or less sarcastically running with what I’ve been told before.

Thank-you, this really answered my question :thumbsup:

Who is this addressed to? :confused:

I don’t know how many Catholics you’re talking about when you say “a lot”, but keep in mind that there are more than one billion Catholics in total.

Seems pretty harmless to receive them. Don’t worry they aren’t magic and wont give you a heavy inclination to sign up for RCIA. Lol…I received them several times as a protestant both in Catholic and non Catholic churches. Just saw it as a symbol of repentance and 40+ days of material deprivation with the objective being closeness to God.

Maybe it makes your spouse happy, and that’s always a positive.

But as someone else said, no pressure from the Church to do anything you don’t want to do.

At the Methodist Church where I attend and am a member, Ash Wednesday and the receiving of ashes is a wonderful and solemn occasion that I very much look forward to each year.

It reminds me of my mortality and reliance on the Lord, and the need for repentance in my life. It’s a humbling experience that draws me closer to Christ and is a perfect lead-in to the Lenten season.

It’s not just a Catholic thing anymore. Of course, you are no less a Christian if you elect not to participate in having ashes placed on your forehead, but in my opinion you are missing out on an added blessing and touch of grace from the Lord in doing so. .

On a side note, one of my complaints of normal worship services at my church is the noise of conversations prior to the beginning of service, some of which are loud and distracting to me as I prepare my mind and heart for worship.

For Ash Wednesday and Good Friday services, there are signs at the entrance to be as quiet and reverent as possible. It adds to the worshipful atmosphere and I wish they did that all the time and saved the social hour for the lobby before and after the service.

Thanks, I think it would make her happy if I go. I think she saw this as a win/win for her. Since I’m so unwelcome at her Parrish I think she was pretty excited to see something that I can actually participate in too.

I don’t really feel pressure from the church, more from her. Wondering what everyone else did and how other Catholics felt on the deal. Is it a lot like communion blessings… “Well, ya…you CAN go but we really prefer you didn’t and just stayed in the pew” or if it was something that non-Catholics are actually welcome to participating in?

Good question. Not sure how many a lot is in an actual numeric value, I guess enough to see it brought up here and IRL more than just occasionally.

Firstly, it’s hard for me to grasp why anyone over there is making you feel so unwelcome.:shrug:

Never had that experience before as a protestant.

This Sacramental is a sign of penance, it doesn’t even begin to imply communion of faith. So yes, open to all and no dirty looks from anyone should take place, ever, imo.

Understood.

Forgive me if you’ve heard me say this before (which you probably have) that I would participate on a Protestant forum instead if I thought things would be better there … but I don’t.

Anyone can receive the blessing of the ashes. All people of goodwill are welcome to attend services in the Catholic Church. I am sorry if you have some friction with your wife’s relatives but that is not something that the Catholic Church would promote.

The ‘blessing in the Communion line’ practice is somewhat controversial because it is a new innovation not approved by the Church.

If you are unwelcome, that’s on them, and shame on them. It’s not at all how any Catholic parish ought to treat non-Catholics or non-Christians. Instead of being sarcastic, why not be above it all? After all, Jesus never said unbelievers (if that is you) are exempt from charity–giving and receiving it. Just the opposite. Even if others don’t accept you, be a person of charity and forgiveness–that was Christ’s message.

I don’t really feel pressure from the church, more from her. Wondering what everyone else did and how other Catholics felt on the deal. Is it a lot like communion blessings… “Well, ya…you CAN go but we really prefer you didn’t and just stayed in the pew” or if it was something that non-Catholics are actually welcome to participating in?

The only reason some feel that non-Catholics shouldn’t go up in the communion line is that the communion line is for communion–it’s not meant to be a line to receive a blessing. Receiving a blessing a very modern innovation. It hasn’t been forbidden, but it’s not in the rubrics, either. If your wife’s parish does blessings in the communion line, then it’s okay for you to go up for one, if you want to. As for ashes on Ash Wednesday, though, anyone may present himself with no questions asked for it is literally open to any and all who want them. :slight_smile:

Haven’t really looked for any other forums. Honestly, I don’t take it personally on here, IRL between the wife’s Parrish and my FIL…I take that personally.

Awesome, thank you.

I’m glad you were welcomed even as a Protestant, I’m not exactly sure either. I think some of it may have to do with a priest that was there a few years ago.

I am sorry if you have not felt welcome in the past.

Our priest made a point of saying at mass on Sunday that anyone is welcome to get ashes on Wednesday, you don’t have to be Catholic.

OP, there are Protestant churches that have ash services, so it’s really not just a Catholic thing. Maybe you should approach for ashes with your family and see how it feels for you, not as a “Catholic or not” but just as a husband or father thinking about his life and how he relates to his family on earth and to our Heavenly Father.

It’s not exactly a comfortable thing to have someone touch your face with dirt and be told that’s where you are going.

But if God is involved, it’s worth the uncomfortable.

The Anglicans down the road celebrate Ash Wednesday as well. It’s not just a Catholic thing. You make a lot of “assumptions” in your posts regarding the Priest and Catholics in general. Have you bothered to ask the Priest what he means when he asks you “if you have found a parish?”. Perhaps he is being polite and interested especially if you have indicated that you have no intention of joining the Catholic Church. :shrug:

Your wife would like to share the special day with you. Go if you want or don’t go if you don’t want but don’t seek to blame others if you don’t go.

Sorry you are having difficulty.

I think you may have spent more time thinking about this than anyone would at the Mass whether you go up or not:shrug:

It’s a nice thing to do for your wife if she asked. As someone else said, the Priest might just be asking socially or inquiring that if you’ve not found a place to worship if you are considering Catholicism.

Good luck tomorrow!

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