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Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist announces new way of distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday

St. John's
Posted at 9:10 AM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 09:10:47-05

CLEVELAND — The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland will have a new procedure for administering the ashes for Ash Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mass will be celebrated at the cathedral at 7:15 a.m., at noon (via livestream with Bishop Malesic) and 7 p.m. Wednesday. Ashes will be distributed during Mass.

The priest will bless the ashes with holy water and then only once say one of the formulas from the Roman Missal, either “Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

The priest will wash his hands, put on his face mask and distribute ashes, but instead of marking each forehead with a cross, he will sprinkle the ashes on the head of each person without saying anything in an effort to avoid physical contact.

According to the Diocese of Cleveland, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said this method of distributing ashes is common practice in other countries, but not as well known in churches in the United States.

Ash Wednesday, Feb, 17, marks the start of Lent—a season of prayer and repentance.