Ash Wednesday

:confused: Is the Vigil Mass offered for Ash Wednesday valid (ie does it still count)? And is it valid (ie still count) even though no ashes are blessed or distributed.

Billy, Ash Wednesday is on Wednesday. There is no vigil Mass. It is not a Holy Day of Obligatiion. But you should still try to go.

That’s what I thought too but the bulletin says Vigil. I was just curious; it must be a mistake by the bulletin staff.

I would not be surprized if there are some parishes that are celebrating a mass of anticipation, but I have never ever heard of one around here. Ash Wednesday is a Wednesday and that is when Lent begins…not Tuesday night.

Hello,
I’m writing with regards to a Vigil Ash Wednesday Mass. There are Vigil Masses for this and for that; Sunday Vigil, Easter Vigil, Christmas Vigil (Christmas Eve Mass) etc. By ancient tradition, the next day begins at sundown the day before! Unfortunately, the Sunday Vigil is blown out of the water when there is a Saturday evening Mass at 4pm - and the sun doesn’t go down until 9pm or later. Yet, Churches still have the Saturday Vigil Masses. Why can’t there be an Ash Wednesday Vigil Mass, an anticipated Mass for the 1st day of Lent, after sunset? To say that it’s not possible would call into question the reasoning behind the rest of the Vigil Masses throughout the year. The only reason for not opening this door may be the shortage of clergy in Parishes. Other than that, I don’t see a Theological problem with an Anticipated Mass of Ash Wednesday in the evening (Shrove Tuesday). Steve

An Ash Wednesday Vigil is innappropriate as it would interfer with the celebration of Shrove Tuesday.

Very simply put, if no ashes were distributed then you did not attend a valid ash wednesday service. Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, however it does tend to more heavily attended then most actual Holy Days AND I bet that if you were to poll the people in attendance, a lot of them believe that it is a Holy Day of Obligation

Nothing prevents the Church from allowing the Ash Wednesday liturgy to be used, and ashes distributed, on Tuesday evening. We simply have not elected to do it. Since Ash Wednesday is not a day of obligation, there is insufficient reason to make such a change.

You’re right, though, there is no theological problem with it.

Thank you for your words. In our Anglican Parish, and this is for the past 2 years, we have had a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper in the Parish Hall. In addition to the supper, we also had a small dixieland band, more for a Mardi Gras experience than anything else. Mardi Gras can indeed be a joyful time to celebrate. Then at 7:30pm, the band played a rendition of “When the Saints go marching in.” Those present (this year about 150 people) processed into the Church and to their pews. There was then a time for reflection, having made the transition from the Festivities of Mardi Gras into the quietness of the Church with Purple Draped crosses, statues and shrines. After many minutes, the organ started the processional hymn and Ash Wednesday Vigil Mass began. The Liturgy of the Word began the Mass, with the Homily, the Blessings & Distribution of the Ashes, the Great Thanksgiving (Canon of the Mass) and the Holy Eucharist. There was no question that Mardi Gras had been enjoyed, but was then left behind. Still further there was no question that this solemn time was the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent; “Remember that you are dust and unto dust shall you return.” On Ash Wednesday itself, the Mass was repeated both at 12 noon and at 7pm, as per the usual tradition. I just thought I would share what has both been enjoyed and celebrated by our Parish Family.

Since the original question was answered, I thought I’d ask one in this subject rather than start a new one.

What do people find the attendance to be like on Ash Wednesday? At my church the attendance was well above that of Christmas. I can’t compare to Easter yet since I’ve not been to an Easter Mass for years here, but an old parishioner told me that he’s not seen the church so packed in ages. Also, someone else told me that another local church gets more attendance on Ash Wednesday than on Christmas or Easter. I’m curious to know if this is something that happens everywhere or not.

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