Too Many Masses? Pastoral-Liturgical Practice on Ash Wednesday

Given the history of Ash Wednesday’s emergence and various morphings over the centuries as a ritual-symbol inaugurating a season of penitence, I simply do not see why, in the Roman Catholic Church, at least, the most apt liturgy would not be based on the sample penitential services (basically, liturgies of the word) found at the end of the Rite of Penance.

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Why Ash Wednesday belongs out of the church and out on the street

This year, I will be joining many Episcopal priests in taking the public witness of Ash Wednesday one step further. On Wednesday, my colleague Catherine Caimano and I will put on cassocks and surplices, and go to a corner near Duke University Hospital with small containers of ashes and copies of a litany of repentance from the Book of Common Prayer. We will offer “the imposition of ashes” to people in the street.

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