Must ashes on the forehead be in the sign of the cross?


#1

Today I attended the Ash Wednesday Mass. When I received the ashes, the priest only make a straight line across my forehead and not the sign of the cross. Is this acceptable? I’ve never seen this done in this manner before.


#2

In the United States, ashes are ordinarily placed on the forehead in the sign of the cross; but, to my knowledge, that is a custom. Indeed, in some places in the world, it is not common to place the ashes on the forehead at all. Today I was interested to learn that in Europe ashes are distributed by sprinkling them on the person’s head. On the Vatican’s web site, you can see a picture of Benedict XVI receiving ashes in this manner.


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