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