Ash Wednesday

We're not long home from St Sanity's evening Ash Wednesday Eucharist and Ashing. It went well with the ashing done by using cotton buds. We'd noticed some friends earlier through the day who'd been ashed at the Catholic church, again using cotton buds. In both instances, there's been a very clear and sharp cross, much better than the usual thumb or finger mark.

What's your experience? Not a traditional, I'll grant you, but our liturgy was otherwise the same. Numbers down slightly on last year, but is is a damp evening with occasional showers and that may well have kept people away.


  • Since churches are closed in Scotland I watched ,as I do most days, the Mass from the outside grotto at Lourdes. Ashes were distributed in the way that they are in most countries in mainland Europe by sprinkling them on the heads of the penitents. However the words of imposition were only spoken once by the principal celebrant at the beginning and then everything done in silence. He was joined by another priest for the ashes and then four other clergy for the later distribution of Holy Communion.
  • As I've said on the Ash-less thread, I think that what Forthview describes is being done at Our Place. FatherInCharge said he would use a spoon to sprinkle the ashes, so that there would be No Physical Contact At All.

    I intend to watch the online Eucharist from the Cathedral this evening, where there will be no *congregation*, but at which at least the few present (clergy, and possibly cantors) may well be ashed.
  • There was no ashing at the Cathedral, but the organist played a reflective (if somewhat dissonant IMO) piece by Kenneth Leighton during that part of the Liturgy of Penitence where ashing would normally take place. She played a couple of short pieces before and after the Gospel, and also a postlude by J S Bach (*Aus tiefer Not*). There were no hymns.

    Communion was administered, however, to the two clergy present (in addition to the celebrant herself), and to the two vergers also present - and finally to one other chap, who I think might have been the cameraman!

    It was a very simple Common Worship Ash Wednesday Eucharist, with a thoughtful homily by the Canon Chancellor. A free-standing altar in the Quire Transept crossing was used, and all was as suitably austere as one would expect in Lent. The celebrant wore the Cathedral's rather odd Lent chasuble - it's basically a light grey, with purply bits ( :anguished: ) - and the other two clergy wore albs, with stoles in the same colours as the chasuble.

    I would have MW'ed it, but for the fact that both the celebrant (a residential Canon) and the Dean (who acted as deacon) are known to me personally! The good Canon happens also to be the priest-in-charge of my local parish church, to which I occasionally flee when in need of some proper *Anglican* worship...and easy parking...

    Facebook recorded some 195 views, which is probably about three times as many as would have attended the usual evening Sung Eucharist on Ash Wednesday. The lunchtime said Eucharist usually sees 30-40 in addition.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    It appears @Oblatus errantly posted elsewhere:
    St Peter's in the Loop, a Franciscan parish here in Chicago (the Loop being the city centre hereof), normally runs an ashing operation all day on Ash Wednesday, ashing tens of thousands in the basement while 13 Masses happen all day in the church upstairs, and I think 12 hours of confessions. But today it's 3 Masses and 5 "Scripture services," each liturgy ending with ashing with cotton swabs. Probably not tens of thousands

    leading to a misplaced reponse -
    The priest who was intended to be our FatherInCharge (he was prevented by illness) told me that, in his previous parish, he (and a few assistants) would robe up on Ash Wednesday, and offer *takeaway* ashing to commuters at the local Underground station (this was in West London).

    I don't think they had exactly 1000s of customers, but they certainly had a busy day, so he said, and did, in fact, make quite a few new contacts.

    [we aim to please, we hosts :wink: ]

  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    I did the rite of ashing followed by the rite of mutual forgiveness in my makeshift domestic chapel. It was live-streamed on Facebook. People were encouraged to produce their own ash at home and ash themselves at the appropriate time.

    One of my parishioners is also a work colleague, so we did the rites in the prayer room at work earlier in the day.

    We used the traditional rubrical method of placing the ashes on the head rather than making a mark on the face.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    We had a brief discussion about a contactless Ash Wednesday, but the general feeling was that the risk of transmission was low enough to carry on more-or-less as usual. The difference was that I had a small cloth impregnated with alcohol on which to wipe my thumb between swipes just to be on the safe side. Infections rates have dropped off around here, so no-one seemed to bothered, and the one or two who are not keen on ashes sat it out as usual.

    I was much more bothered by having a funeral earlier in the day, but everyone heeded advice, sat well apart, and used the designated pews. Normally we would not have a funeral on Ash Wednesday, but the date was set using the long-range weather forecast. With another snow storm coming in, it was pretty parky doing the graveside service. Five layers of clothing was not enough!
  • PDR wrote: »
    Five layers of clothing was not enough!

    Is the cappa nigra not part of your clerical wardrobe?
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited February 22
    Nope. I had a heavy cassock, MA gown, tippet and trencher cap on over my usual street clothes, minus jacket, which would have been enough had it not been for a nasty breeze blowing up the hill from the NW. 'That damn wind' has been a common cause of complaint this winter. I take a perverse pleasure in it sometimes as it takes me right home to Lincolnshire!
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