We again approach the Season of Lent, marking its beginning with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. Ashes are a tangible sign of our mortality and penitence, leading us to a meaningful spiritual entry into the Season of Lent. While we give importance to the celebration of Ash Wednesday, during this pandemic, we are also concerned with the safety and welfare of the faithful.
RITE OF BURNING OF PALMS
- The ashes that will be used for this year’s Ash Wednesday can be from dried branches of leaves of plants or trees. Many parishes will find it difficult to secure old palm branches blessed in the celebration of Palm Sunday of 2020. (CBCP, Note on Ash Wednesday: Distribution of ashes in time of pandemic)
- The Rite of Burning of Palms in the presence of a congregation is optional.
- The note released by the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Prot. N. 17/21, on the Distribution of Ashes in Time of Pandemic, states:The Priest says the prayer for blessing the ashes. He sprinkles the ashes with holy water, without saying anything. Then he addresses all those present and only once says the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal, applying it to all in general: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”, or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”The Priest then cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The Priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything.
- If desired, ashes may be made available to the people in their homes. A small quantity of ashes, previously blessed by the priest or deacon, and placed in a small container may be distributed to the homes of the people or be obtained during specified hours at the church. The Bishop of Cubao leaves it to the discretion of the Parish Priest whether circumstances require the distribution of ashes in the homes or not. If the parish priest decides to do so, instructions and rubrics must be observed with care.
- A rite of Imposition of Ashes outside the mass will be provided for the families and households (Tagalog and English). The head of the household may lead the Rite, observing all the rubrics provided.
- The Rite of Distribution of Ashes ‘may be celebrated by a priest or deacon who may be assisted by lay ministers in the distribution of the ashes. The blessing of the ashes, however, is reserved to a priest or deacon (Book of Blessings no. 1659).’
That in all things God may be glorified.