Ash-less Ash Wednesday services

Most churches appear to be fully closed now, so I'm curious as to how people are handling ash-less Ash Wednesday services. What are your local churches doing? Personally, a virtual Ash Wednesday service is even less appealing than a standard virtual service and seems pretty pointless when the thing it's named after isn't being administered.
«1

Comments

  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited February 4
    Pomona wrote: »
    Most churches appear to be fully closed now, so I'm curious as to how people are handling ash-less Ash Wednesday services. What are your local churches doing? Personally, a virtual Ash Wednesday service is even less appealing than a standard virtual service and seems pretty pointless when the thing it's named after isn't being administered.

    Our place has delivered a little pot of ash to each household that has requested it. We'll have zoom services at our usual times (lunch and evening), and parishioners will ash themselves at the appropriate point. Mine's currently safely tucked away on a high shelf, next to our Lord's Most Precious Body and Blood.

    Unfortunately, we're not doing my favourite early-morning service that usually attracts about a half a dozen people. I still haven't decided whether I'll just do it for myself first thing, or wait for the lunchtime service.
  • The C of E is permitting ashing in churches which are open, but with some modifications to the more usual ritual.

    AIUI, the minister will NOT say *Remember you are dust etc.* to each individual, but will say it only once, to everyone, before sprinkling some DRY ash (no oil mixed with it) on the head of each person - FatherInCharge says that he will use a spoon (and his long arm!) to do this safely.

    FInC is advertising Mass at 10am and again at 730pm, though I don't expect many will turn up. Our usual Sung Mass at 730pm only has a congregation of 20 or so in *normal* times...which reminds me that this year there will probably be no music, either.

    For the past couple of Ash Wednesdays, I've been to the Cathedral's lunchtime Eucharist, but that's not happening this year AFAIK.

    ISTM that the C of E's penitential provision for AW in Common Worship could be used for an online service, with self-ashing as @Leorning Cniht's Place is doing, if that's been arranged.
  • Being in warm Arizona, we have two services (12 noon and 7 p.m.) scheduled out in our courtyard. I know he's taking precautions, rather than touching everyone's head. I've heard some churches are using Q-tips, but I don't know if that's what we're planning.

  • O, a nice Holy Spoon would be so much more...er...elegant...

    BTW, I know ashing has become much more common in various churches in recent years, but it's not the only aspect of the service that's important.

    The recollection, confession, and absolution are somewhat longer and more comprehensive than usual, but should not be left out or curtailed, even for an online service. Shorten the homily instead!
    :wink:
  • I feel like a cotton bud would be unseemly... unless mounted on some sort of elegant wand like those used with tapers for lighting and snuffing candles.

    In the past we've had ashless Ash Wednesday services due to a prudent doubt, now resolved, as to whether it was proper for a lay person to bless and impose the ashes. At the appropriate point in the service I invited those present to trace the sign of the cross on their own forehead.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited February 4
    That discussion has been had in the C of E in the past - whether resolved or not, I couldn't say, but I think churches without a clergyperson for Ash Wednesday are allowed to use pre-blessed ash, the lay minister tracing the cross on the penitent's forehead in the usual way.

    This year, of course, any form of touching is FORBIDDEN, and AFAIK the official advice is for the minister to simply, but carefully, throw the ash onto the penitent's head.

    FatherInCharge's use of a spoon is a good idea, I think, and will lessen the chance of ash falling around the penitent's shoulders in the manner of dandruff...
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I think the RC instruction is that the ashes should be sprinkled like salt on the recipients hair. So this year they won't presumably be made damp as they usually are.
    NB imposing ashes can be done by anyone. No magic involved.
  • Same in the C of E - the spoon is Father's idea (he likes religious tat artefacts).
  • That discussion has been had in the C of E in the past - whether resolved or not, I couldn't say, but I think churches without a clergyperson for Ash Wednesday are allowed to use pre-blessed ash, the lay minister tracing the cross on the penitent's forehead in the usual way.

    In this realm of Scotland it was resolved by the College of Bishops authorising new liturgies that made explicit provision for lay leadership (and indeed for transfering the service up to and including the first Sunday in Lent so as to more easily accommodate the scheduling of rapidly moving priests).
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Do prople burn last years palms to get the ashes?
  • We used to do this at Our Place, and Madam Sacristan would mix the ashes with oil, but I think that this year she has ordered some dry ash from one of the ecclesiastical supply places.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Assuming a Q-tip is used, what would be the Latin term for it? I suggest pulvivirgula.

    The Latin for liturgical ash spoon seems a bit too vulgar to mention.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited February 5
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Do prople burn last years palms to get the ashes?

    We do.

    (Does "prople" mean "proper people? A handy neologism.)
  • Gee D wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Do prople burn last years palms to get the ashes?

    We do.

    (Does "prople" mean "proper people? A handy neologism.)

    If I am an improper person does that mean I'm bigger on the top than the bottom, like a fraction?
  • I feel like a cotton bud would be unseemly... unless mounted on some sort of elegant wand like those used with tapers for lighting and snuffing candles.

    I like the aesthetics of this - but would you trust your priest / appropriate lay person to be (essentially) poking you in the head with a long stick?

  • Fawkes Cat wrote: »
    I feel like a cotton bud would be unseemly... unless mounted on some sort of elegant wand like those used with tapers for lighting and snuffing candles.

    I like the aesthetics of this - but would you trust your priest / appropriate lay person to be (essentially) poking you in the head with a long stick?

    Hmm... good point. Perhaps a calligraphy brush?
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Fawkes Cat wrote: »
    I feel like a cotton bud would be unseemly... unless mounted on some sort of elegant wand like those used with tapers for lighting and snuffing candles.

    I like the aesthetics of this - but would you trust your priest / appropriate lay person to be (essentially) poking you in the head with a long stick?

    Hmm... good point. Perhaps a calligraphy brush?

    Dipped in sanitizer between foreheads ... the sanitizer of course could be a good sticky substitute for oils. In which case maybe we should bless sanitizer each Chrism Mass.
  • I have been sent some ash in the post, from a local church which I attend on occasion. The idea is that we cross our own foreheads at a certain point in the Zoom (or YouTube) liturgy.
  • MargaretMargaret Shipmate
    Our cathedral's opening for the first time in weeks on Ash Wednesday, and I'm looking forward to finding out how they're going to do it. One thing, sadly, is certain - we shan't be doing Ashes To Go this year!
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    We are going to be told next Sunday.
  • Our rector will impose the ashes in the usual way, but wearing a face-mask, and wiping her fingers with a hospital-grade sanitiser in between times. This is in Australia, where we have zero community transmission.
  • AnnAnn Shipmate Posts: 37
    Sorry, Bishop's Finger - when you said spoon, this came to mind. Lowering the tone.
  • No, no - what an Absolutely Spiffing Wheeze!

    I should love to see Father taking aim...and missing...
    :naughty:
  • Ashing, not asperging - which really does take the form of 'take aim, fire!'
  • Church in Wales advice: https://tinyurl.com/35emqcxb
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    At ours the clergy will be ashed on behalf of all.
    Maybe their need for repentance is greater.
  • :lol:

    Do the laity get to hear the priests' confessions beforehand? No? Shame...
    :naughty:
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    :lol:

    Do the laity get to hear the priests' confessions beforehand? No? Shame...
    :naughty:

    <Shudders>
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    At ours the clergy will be ashed on behalf of all.
    Maybe their need for repentance is greater.

    The road to Hell is paved with priests' bones and the lanterns are bishops' skulls. — old Orthodox proverb
  • Love it!
    :lol:
  • The other is like unto it: the devil enters the church through the choir.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    The road to Hell is paved with priests' bones and the lanterns are bishops' skulls. — old Orthodox proverb
    I've heard that attributed to St John Chrysostomos but I can't quote chapter and verse.

  • rhubarbrhubarb Shipmate
    We were informed today that there will be no ashes.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    The other is like unto it: the devil enters the church through the choir.

    I can attest to the truth of that!

    We've been asked to bring our own ash, and apply it ourselves.
  • Margaret wrote: »

    We've been asked to bring our own ash, and apply it ourselves.

    I can't help but feel that this will lead to a range of applications from 'tiny speck that wouldn't be noticed' through to 'rolled in chimney sweep's ash pile'...

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Our rector will impose the ashes in the usual way, but wearing a face-mask, and wiping her fingers with a hospital-grade sanitiser in between times. This is in Australia, where we have zero community transmission.

    I heard that we'll be using cotton buds to apply the ashes. Face-mask, of course, s with distributing communion.
  • Margaret wrote: »
    We've been asked to bring our own ash, and apply it ourselves.
    We’ll be virtual, and instead of ashes we’ve been asked to get some dirt from our own yards or from the church’s garden (American sense) and add a little oil to it. I’m told by the minister that attention will be paid in the readings and sermon to the formation of humans from the earth, and to Jesus healing the blind man with dirt and spit.

  • Margaret wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    The other is like unto it: the devil enters the church through the choir.

    I can attest to the truth of that!

    Heh. Me too.

  • I've sent out little bags of tiny amounts of palm ash to my mailshot folk, with a simple liturgy for the beginning of Lent and instructions how to use them. We'll do a Zoom for Ash Wed for those who can press the buttons. Otherwise, folks can do what they need to without joining Zoom, or just ignore the whole thing, if they wish.
  • I don't think FatherInCharge has sent out ash + liturgy to his mailshot folk - it seems a Very Good Idea, and I rather wish I (or someone else) had suggested it to him.

    On Ash Wednesday itself, there are to be two services (10am and 730pm) with Sprinkling of Ashes, but I don't know if either of them is being videoed for Facebook.

    Our Cathedral is livestreaming a Eucharist at 530pm, so I might watch that. I can easily find some ash, having a coal-fired range in the Ark!
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    we’ve been asked to get some dirt from our own yards or from the church’s garden (American sense) and add a little oil to it.
    There's a little palm tree growing not far from my patio door -- not so tall that I can't reach a frond to break off. I may do so, burn it, and mix it with a little oil.

    The Lutheran church around the corner from me, where I had been attending services until they went all-virtual again, is having virtual services on Ash Wednesday with drive-up communion and imposition of ashes afterwards. Unfortunately the times aren't right for me -- I'm getting my second Covid vaccine Wednesday and there's a virtual Board meeting for my choral group that evening. I'm secretary, so I can't miss it.
  • There's a little palm tree growing not far from my patio door -- not so tall that I can't reach a frond to break off. I may do so, burn it, and mix it with a little oil.
    Good luck -- I believe it's more difficult to burn green palms than it is to burn dried out ones from last Palm Sunday. And be sure to do it outdoors. My sister and I discovered how bad the smell of burning palms can be when we tried burning them indoors in college. (We were in upstate New York, where the temperature made doing anything like that outdoors pretty unbearable.)
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    We are unable to get to St Sanity today, so were ashed at the local catholic church. An individual cotton bud for each person left a very clear cross. Much clearer than the normal finger in fact.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Actually, an ashless Ash Wednesday is my default, and I have only picked up on the use of ashes in the last ten or so years. In my early ministry I was in the Free Church of England and it was one of the 'gross points of Popery evident unto all men' that we did not do, so the usual service for the first day of Lent was Litany, Penitential Office, and Communion.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    It's surprising how 'ashing' has taken hold so rapidly and across all traditions. My last job was in a liberal catholic city centre parish and while we used to ash at the evening Sung Mass, the custom up until about 15 years ago was for the lunchtime eucharist, which was aimed at city workers, to be ash free. It took a Methodist preacher one year to persuade us to change that practice. More recently, until this Covid year, Ashes to Go was an ecumenical venture with bishops and Free Church leaders going around the shopping district.

    I remember some years ago attending a Prayer Book eucharist in Winchester Cathedral which was sombre but ashless.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Our local cathedral streamed an online Ash Wednesday service at which those attending online were encouraged to light a match, let it burn about a third down, squeeze it between a wet cloth or piece of cotton wool, and then apply the charred end to their foreheads.

  • angloid wrote: »
    It's surprising how 'ashing' has taken hold so rapidly and across all traditions.

    If you can find any Orthodox who do "ashing" I will eat my hat.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    angloid wrote: »
    It's surprising how 'ashing' has taken hold so rapidly and across all traditions.

    If you can find any Orthodox who do "ashing" I will eat my hat.

    I hope it tastes good. Some Western Rite Orthodox in USA do imposition of ashes. See, for example, http://stvincentchurch.org/parish-calendar/ for March 17th.
  • Well, to me that is doubly anomalous: not only do they call the Divine Liturgy "Mass", but 17th March on the Orthodox calendar is 2 days after the start of the Great 40-day Fast, which is Clean Monday, immediately after Forgiveness Sunday, as any "true Orthodox" fule kno.
  • Sorry, Western Rite slipped my mind. I was thinking of REAL Orthodox (half smile).
Sign In or Register to comment.