Ashes ... outside


#1

I believe that in some places ashes are imposed outside the context of the Mass on Ash Wednesday.

I’ve a few questions arising from thinking about this.

Any answers to…

  1. Can they be imposed outside a church?

  2. Can they be imposed outside of a liturgy?

  3. Finally… Can they be imposed on another day?

I guess I’m also thinking ‘are they’ not just ‘can they’ … Practice and law not always meeting!

Thanks

Take notice! Sexagesima


#2

I don’t really understand what you are getting at. Ashes are not imposed at all outside or inside Church.


#3

Well, I remember when my children were growing up (in the 1980s, mostly . . . of course . . . :wink: ), several families in our parish created their own ashes from the former year’s blessed palms and had a family ceremony of prayers, placing ashes on one another, making their Lenten commitments, and reinforcing the family’s desire to “repent and believe the Good News.”

Since Ash Wednesday attendance at church is not obligatory, I’m not sure this type of family prayer service is incorrect.

I hope someone can speak up with some authority!!


#4

I assumed “imposed” = distributed = applied to one’s forehead. My dictionary gives the alternate meaning of “to put or place on something.” Are ashes not distributed in your church on Ash Wednesday?


#5

The ashes are distributed only on Ash Wednesday within a Mass or a Liturgy of the Word. They are not to be taken home or distributed on another day, as there is no moral obligation to receive them or to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday.


#6

Thistle’s comment puzzled me, too.

I don’t know what other word could be used. ‘Distributed’ means ‘given out’ ,to me, as in money being distributed, or slices of wedding cake.

Thistle, aren’t ashes put on foreheads in your parish?


#7

“imposed” does not mean distributed. it means forced.

Ashes are not forced on anyone.


#8

Yes, and isn’t it interesting that many Catholics will cancel everything to get to church (even our protestant brethren will come to Ashes) on Ash Wednesday, because of some perception that they are “getting something magic” as opposed to coming regularly to Mass to receive Christ in the Eucharist?
Sad.
We usually have at least 8 people distributing ashes…and we’re a tiny parish…and the line of people is out the door.
Where are the hundreds on Sundays?
My priest said it’s the only Mass where people think we give away something.
They believe that other Masses require the attendees to give something.
:shrug:


#9

Many Churches give out ashes apart from Mass. My parish is giving them out at noon and there will be no Mass at that time.

Thousands who normally don’t go to Church will come and we welcome them. Many Protestants will come. In order to accommodate them all and get them back to work on time, there will be no Mass at noon. There just isn’t time. We also have to put the pre-school and a very large elementary/middle school into lockdown because of all the traffic.

-Tim-


#10

We have had people come up in yhe line for communion on Ash Wednesday and say “i dont want that I want ashes.”


#11

That is a connotation that is not relevant to its frequent usage in the Church. It is often said that the Pallium is imposed or that Holy Orders are imposed etc. Of course these are not forced.


#12

:bigyikes:


#13

The ashes used at church aren’t just burnt palms but are mixed with holy oil and are blessed. If your families just used burnt palm ashes then it was not at all the same. However. I like the general idea of having a family ceremony to begin Lent and reinforce its meaning. Your tradition sounds very messy tho with cinders and soot everywhere. :wink:


#14

[quote=pianistclare]Yes, and isn’t it interesting that many Catholics will cancel everything to get to church (even our protestant brethren will come to Ashes) on Ash Wednesday, because of some perception that they are “getting something magic” as opposed to coming regularly to Mass to receive Christ in the Eucharist?
Sad.
We usually have at least 8 people distributing ashes…and we’re a tiny parish…and the line of people is out the door.
Where are the hundreds on Sundays?
My priest said it’s the only Mass where people think we give away something.
They believe that other Masses require the attendees to give something.
[/quote]

Christmas ,Easter, and Ash Wednesday seem to be the three days that the Church is packed with people. It’s always a mostly bitter but somewhat sweet feeling to see all these people. On one hand I am happy that all of these people are at Mass, but I know that the following Sunday will be back down to it’s normal attendance.

As for the OP’s questions:

  1. Yes, ashes can be imposed outside of a Church in the case of sick, elderly, or otherwise infirm people who cannot make it to Church. This may be done by a priest, deacon, or lay minister if the lay minister is using already blessed ashes. Only a priest or deacon can bless ashes.

  2. Ashes are imposed either during a Mass or a Liturgy. Even when giving ashes to the sick outside of a Church a liturgy/rite is followed from the Book of Blessings regardless of whether it is a priest, deacon, or lay minister.

  3. No, they are not supposed to be imposed on another day.

As to whether these things happen in practice, I have never seen any of these rules broken, at least not around here.


#15

When I worked in the hospital, ashes were brought around by the hospital chaplains and distributed to the patients and staff who were unable to attend the Liturgy. This was perfectly proper.


#16

That one was regularly broken in many of the parishes that I belonged to over the years. It was not rare at all for the priest to offer ashes after Mass on the First Sunday of Lent to anyone who had not received them on Ash Wednesday. I always thought that was really strange. I think I only ran into one priest who said “NO, not doing that. It’s Ash Wednesday, not Ash Week.”


#17

“Imposition of ashes” is a term used by the Church. See **Paschale Solemnitatis **# 21

The blessing and imposition of ashes should take place either in the Mass, or outside of the Mass. In the latter case it precedes the Liturgy of the word which concludes with the prayer of the faithful.


#18

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