[quote="LemonAndLime, post:1, topic:231807"]
Hey everyone, in case you don't know me I'm new to Catholicism (no Catholic family or friends previously) but I'm being baptised and confirmed into the Church this Easter.
Last night I noticed that on my Liturgical calender, today was going to be Ash Wednesday and I remembered people at RCIA talking about it. It was in bold on my calender so I assumed it was a Holy Day of Obligation (I know now it wasn't but anyway...) so I went to Mass this morning out of curiosity, a feeling that I needed to go and also for practical reasons (to do with a day out we're all doing at RCIA, I needed to know what time we were meeting that weekend).
So I went and had the ashes marked in the shape of the cross on my forehead, and I walked back home afterwards with others from my Church - only receiving a few funny looks.
How long am I to keep them on my forehead for? I noticed no one wiped it off when they left Church. My boyfriend has already been asking questions and my housemates are definitely going to ask later this evening.
As Catholics we should ask ourselves what the ashes symbolize to us.
I think the invocation the priest uses conferring ashes on our foreheads says it all reminding us of our sinful failure and human weakness. Remember Man/Woman you are Dust and to Dust you shall return or Turn away from Sin and believe in the holy Gospel
As to the time-line one should keep them on their foreheads? That's up to the individual.
Perhaps to some it personally means more if your more conscious of your ashes leaving them on your head all day.
Sure its humbling if your scene in public with ashes. But I would think even most non-Catholics know about or heard about Ash Wednesday...then again maybe not.