Ashes on Ash Wednesday


#1

What's the ruling on non-Catholic Christians receiving ashes at a Mass on Ash Wednesday?

My secretary is an active/practicing Lutheran. She may accompany me to Mass tomorrow because she can't find a Lutheran service that fits her schedule. Obviously, I'm not going to stop her if she goes, I'm just curious.

Personally, although usually attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, I usually skip the ashes part of it.


#2

Ashes are a sacramental, like holy water. Anyone may receive ashes.


#3

:thumbsup: thanks.


#4

There are some churches that don't do a Mass, but a Liturgy. Maybe find one of those so you don't get the awkward "But you can't take communion" conversation?


#5

Not a bad idea, but she's already well aware of that. Her husband is Catholic although I don't think he's active.


#6

can I ask why you skip the ashes?
Need not answer if too personal....


#7

It seems to me that people show them off around here. It’s hard to explain. I’m not comfortable broadcasting my religious faith in that way. Maybe that’s a weakness on my part.


#8

[quote="on_the_hill, post:7, topic:314678"]
It seems to me that people show them off around here. It's hard to explain. I'm not comfortable broadcasting my religious faith in that way. Maybe that's a weakness on my part.

[/quote]

You can always go to the evening mass and receive the ashes and then go straight home again.


#9

Odd question:

My hair covers my forehead. What do I do about ashes?


#10

[quote="Zenkai, post:9, topic:314678"]
Odd question:

My hair covers my forehead. What do I do about ashes?

[/quote]

You scoop your hair to the side or back as you come forward for the ashes. Make room on your forehead so the person distributing doesn't have to do it. Your ashes will disappear pretty quickly from your bangs rubbing them off.


#11

[quote="CalCatholic, post:8, topic:314678"]
You can always go to the evening mass and receive the ashes and then go straight home again.

[/quote]

Good point. However, the noon Mass is really the only feasible option for me.

I went, and didn't receive ashes. (By the way, my coworker did not attend--she found a Lutheran service nearby).

But, I figured out why I don't get ashes.

I attend all of the weekday holy day of obligation Masses at this particular church, at noon. While there is a fair amount of people at these, the largest attendance by far is for Ash Wednesday, which is not even a holy day. There's always a local news camera there taping people receiving ashes, "Look at the Catholics getting their ashes to mark the start of Lent." (we're the minority in this area).

So I decided the reason for the standing-room-only attendance is because people like to get ashes to display their Catholicism. Today's Gospel is about "when you want to pray, go into a room by yourself and close the door." Which seems, to me, to be at odds with getting ashes. I felt conspicuous about not getting ashed. I felt a little guilty for being too self-conscious about it. But I didn't do it anyway. :blush:

I'll further explain by adding this: I work in a state capitol. The church is the cathedral, and is only a block down the street from the capital dome. Lots and lots of people stream from the capitol to the cathedral, then back again. It just seems a little too much like displaying to coworkers. (heck, I don't even like falling in line and marching down the sidewalk with them.)


#12

but don't we receive the ashes as a sign of.... well.... it is something much more personal, between us and God?

I had a special experience while getting the ashes this morning (here they were sprinkled over one's hair, so can't be seen afterward, by the way, but I didn't know that).

So the priest said this about remembering that we are dust and shall return to dust... and I just felt really WEIRD having to say "Amen" to this.... I did say it but very quietly... adding to the quietness was also that my voice didn't seem to come out loud sicne my throat was kind of plugged up, maybe from a runny nose because it is cold... ANYWAY, so the priest (who knows me) said "AMEN" for me, and I repeated it again, but it still came out quietly.

Afterward something made me aware how important it is to accept this concept... was it a song we sang at the end? Something about being baptized into Christ's death so we may rise again with him? I don't remember. Anyway I started feeling really guilty about not having with a full strong voice said AMEN!!! to my being dust. Because being dust does not mean something hopeless for us, but it means something humble that then leads to salvation (ok I didn't think that far at the time, this I am writing now.. I did think in terms of this being necessary a) for having a good season of Lent and b) for going one's way with Christ... (I started obsessing abit since I have scrupulosity).

ANYWAY after the mass I went up to the priest and apologized for having said it quietly and then said I wanted to say it loud now: AMEN! I admitted that this about the dust had just seemed so... "brutal"... I then looked for another word. The priest actually seemed to understand exactly what I meant. (He kows me, I said that already). I just said I wanted to say AMEN loud now :)

Kathrin

p.s. actually I wanted to say, shouldn't it be something very personal, not about whethe rother people might see it or not... and if they see it, whether it makes us a show-off... if I don't take them for reasons of showing them off, it doesn't make me a show-off even if other people think I am?


#13

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