Ashes for Infants on Ash Wednesday


I was the only child in my extended family growing up, so I only recall from my own perspective.

I know I always got ashes when I was little. Even before First Communion.

Do infants get ashes too?

For the past 5+ years I have been in medical training and unable to attend an Ash Wednesday service due to work. This year, I will be having a scheduled c-section for our 2nd child March 3rd and will still be in the hospital on Ash Wednesday (will have to remember to avoid meat, though I think nursing and recovering from surgery means I don’t have to fast).

Depending on how I feel, I might try to go to the ash wednesday service at the hospital, but if someone comes to my room can my daughter also get ashes? I’m inclined to think she can, but my Google searching didn’t turn up anything definitive.


Yes. Infants can receive ashes.


For that matter, I seem to recall that non-Catholics may receive the ashes. Ashes are a sacramental like holy water.


If you want them for your daughter, you may have to specifically ask. They are not given to young children at our Ash Wednesday services (I think for practicality reasons, although newborns are not as liable to smudge them all over the place as an older baby or toddler would be. ;))


Yes, infants can receive ashes. My parish does this.


I just want to chime in with the chorus and also affirm that ashes are a sacramental and can be given to even the very young. Our children have never not received the ashes on Ash Wednesday.


They do at my parish also.


I used to receive ashes in honor of a non-Catholic friend.
The priest drew one cross on top of the other.


Thanks everyone!

I think they will send someone to my room for ashes if I request it. I know I won’t be able to take the baby off the floor.

I’m sort of looking forward to it!


Please. I don’t know what someone has told you, but you’ve been given some bad information.

While your baby can certainly receive ashes on Ash Wednesday, you (or a family member, or perhaps one of the caregivers at the hospital) should be holding the baby—there is no need for her to be on the floor when she receives ashes. In fact, there’s every reason she should not be there. Please do not place her on the floor!


:smiley: :rotfl:

Fr. I may be the one misunderstanding or you may be joking I am not sure but when she says take her off the floor she is not referring to the floor of a room but the floor of the hospital . You know like your on the 4th floor of a hotel. You aren’t literally on the floor.:shrug:


This made my day!

Yes, indeed, I meant take the baby off the maternity floor of the hospital. I hope she never touches the actual** hospital floor.

They have those ankle bracelets on the newborns for safety and you can’t leave the floor with them until discharge. :smiley:




:D:D:D Loving the “on the floor” misunderstandind or joke. So funny!

The only thing I would add is to contact the hospital chaplain office in advance (since you have the benefit of knowing when you will be there) to be sure that someone will have ashes to distribute and to arrange for them to do so.


Of course there is biblical evidence for this. Sackcloth, ashes and prostrate.:wink:


Okay, I’m paranoid. You might also want to check with the nurses who are caring for your wee one. Charcoal dust may not be the best thing to have near his or her eyes, nose, lungs, etc. Perhaps the priest or deacon could give a blessing without the risk!


[quote=IrishAm;11607701 **Charcoal dust

may not be the best thing to have near his or her eyes, nose, lungs, etc.

Probably so. However the ashes used on Ash Wednesday generally (always?) come from burning palms that were originally blessed on the previous Palm Sunday.


In thousands of years of History this has not come up. First off as noted before, it is not charcoal. Second, it does not have to be “dusty” at all most of the time it is saturated in oil. Third, it does not have to be a ton of it. All of my children have had it when they were under 1 year old and honestly, it is not any worse than baptism and anointing oils.
Lets not make problems where they do not exist.


Breathe deeply. “Charcoal” was metaphorical (I know what the ashes are and how they are obtained; I’m sorry for the apparent misunderstanding). Second, we are not talking about a baby old enough to be out and about, even a few weeks old; the OP was speaking of a very newborn apparently within hours or a day of birth. Neonatal lungs can be very sensitive.


Honestly I think the hospital can handle it:rolleyes: It seem to serve no purpose except to cause fear where there is none.

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