For Third Year, "Ashes" Named Favorite Catholic Sacrament


For the third year, ashes comes in tops as favorite Catholic sacrament.

BOSTON – For the third year in a row, the ashes received during the Ash Wednesday service was listed in an ABC-News/Washington Post poll as most Roman Catholic’s favorite sacrament, topping both communion and baptism.

“There is just something about receiving those ashes that makes me feel, well alive,” said Katie Stanbury, a lobbyist with Phelps/Dawson Public Relations. “I miss mass quite a bit, but I never, ever miss this service.”

Fr. Allen Bannion, of St. Peter Claver Church in Boston, said that the Ash Wednesday service is always standing room only. “People just love that service, as well as the one for Palm Sunday. We always have more people there than any other time of year,” he said. “Yeah, people come on Sunday for communion, but at these services they get a little something extra. It is sort of like Bonus Days at the Clinique counter, when you not only get the perfume you went in to purchase, but a kick-*** red lipstick, as well. Or so I’ve been told.”

Maggie Oliver, a retired schoolteacher, said her favorite sacraments are baptism and confirmation. “It’s a great chance to take some pictures and see relatives I haven’t seen in awhile. Oh, plus we all go out to eat afterwards, which is fun,” she said.

Other favorite sacraments listed, in order, included: 2) baptism, 3) “that day when we get to bring in our pets for blessings” 4) communion (if viewed as a symbol only) 4) annulment 5) Confirmation and 6) marriage.

According to the poll, Roman Catholics have different interpretations on what the word sacrament means. Responses given included: “a symbol,” “something that makes you feel happy, blessed or relieved,” “a church function or practice” or “a tradition.”

Kenny Daniels said he thinks so much of the Ash Wednesday service that when he arrived late last night, he simply left. “I could have stayed for communion, but I came for the ashes,” he said. “So, I just went to Starbuck’s instead. Oh well, there’s always next year.”

-Maureen Martin


People love giveaways


I am I being dense but I didn’t know ashes was a sacrament. :o :confused: :o


That’s what I was thinking. Did they mean “sacramental”, perhaps? :wink:

But then, considering that “annulment” and “pet blessing” were also named as “sacraments”, I think there has been a slight failure of catechesis. :eek:


They’re not, of course. Pretty sad, isn’t it?

Of course there’s only a 2-letter difference between “sacrament” and “sacramental”…


The ashes are a sacramentAL, not a sacrament.

I used to go to Gesu church in downtown Miami at noon to receive the ashes. I tried to avoid lovable old Father Griffin SJ, however, because that elderly gentleman used to mash his whole thumb down into the ashes, and then smear your forehead from left to right and top to bottom with a complete covering of ashes, not just a little cross-shaped ash.
I had to come back to work and wash my face cuz he used so much ashes !!! He was, however, a good and holy priest, God rest his soul.


okay so I reread the article and I can see that the people interviewed didn’t seem to know what a sacrament was. I thought that the school teacher who stated that baptism and conformation were her favorite because it was a good time for pictures. Wow! way to miss the whole point on those sacraments.

How about the list of favorite sacraments 2)the day you bring your pet in to be blessed. 3) annulment.

If this is Americas view of the sacraments than America is in serous need of Evangelization.


Worse yet, Lucy. If that is the view of Catholics of the sacraments, then we’re really in trouble.


I think people pointing out Baptism as their favorite sacrament is kind of interesting…since most of us wouldn’t remember our own baptism…

I know it’s more than a little scary that people are confusing sacraments with sacramentals…

But…on the other hand…those who answered these questions have SOME devotion to the church…I don’t know many people who only show up to get their pets blessed…so they must show up more often than that.


Yes! I agree.

I have to admit reading this article really makes sad. The guy in the end who walked out before communion really says how far we have fallen.


Oops…this is a satire…

From the bloggers own website:

** This blog is made up of parodies and satires.** For the love of God, don’t come here looking for actual facts and information. It is not a place for me to poke fun at the Catholic Church or her teachings (I love the Church), but the egos of some of the blogging “celebrities” who have cropped up, and absurdities among the faithful and not so faithful


hard to catechise people who aren’t around to hear it.
secretaries have been answering phone non-stop
What time are ashes?
What time is the service without the Mass?
Where is the churc located?


Maureen Martin is a Catholic satirist indeed. C’mon. I don’t think there are any Catholics that ill-informed, even in Boston.



The piece really works as a satire. Most of all because there is a lot of truth to it. How many A&P Catholics do we all know? Indeed, it is curious that so many people DO love to come to Church just for these things. But, far from merely being sad, it illustrates something of value in a culture. For such signs truly do touch people. And whether they be sacraments or sacramentals, it reaches people where they are. It says something to them. It draws them back.

Were this a genuine poll (and understood as a sociological survey rather than a theology test), what I’d recognize is (not necessarily in a negative way) how the Church is ultimately a home for people. The Church provides a sense of family through it’s traditions. People may not practice the faith devoutly, but at some deeper level they know well WHO they are as part of a people. It’s in them, influencing their sense of identity and worldview. This is the touchpoint to which they will always return. And this is good.


Thread closed. No link to referenced article, which is satire, not news.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit