Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday

I class

Fast and Abstinence de iure

General info:

The ashes are blessed and imposed before Mass. If the main Mass with the blessing of the ashes takes place late in the morning, the ashes may be blessed without chant early in the morning so that they may be imposed on the faithful at the earlier Masses. If there is a well-attended Mass in the evening, the blessing of the ashes may be done also at that Mass for the benefit of the faithful, although it is not necessary that the blessing be repeated.


The Blessing and Imposition of Ashes:

– The ashes are placed on the Epistle side of the altar. The celebrant, wearing violet stole and cope, ascends the altar, kisses it, then stands at the Epistle side facing the altar for the blessing. He reads or sings the antiphon Exaudi nos, then Dominus vobiscum (facing the altar and with hands joined). The four prayers of the blessing of ashes, as given in the Missal, are each closed with the short conclusions. The celebrant sings or says them with joined hands (even at Oremus, although he bows to the cross). He imposes incense there at the Epistle corner, sprinkles the ashes thrice (center, left, and right) while saying in a subdued voice the entire Asperges antiphon but without its psalm. When the celebrant makes the sign of the cross over the ashes during the blessings and when he sprinkles them, the deacon or server should hold back the right side of the cope. The celebrant then incenses the ashes with three simple swings (center, left, right), saying nothing.

– For the distribution of the ashes, the antiphon Immutemur and the responsory Emundemus are sung by the choir, or in a Low Mass the priest will read them. Then he will receive the ashes from another priest, or in the absence of another priest he will impose them upon himself on the crown of the head, facing the altar and bowing, saying nothing (ashes are received by clerics not on the forehead but on the place of the tonsure). He will impose ashes on ministers and the servers, who kneel at the footpace, and afterwards he will impose them upon the faithful, who kneel at the altar rail; he takes the customary route used for distributing Holy Communion.

– The formula is Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris.

– After the distribution, he washes his hands at the Epistle side in plano (employing the acolytes with ewer and basin, who should also have some soap), then ascends the altar to chant the remaining prayer, after which he descends to the sedilia to change into the chasuble.

– A sacristan or server should be assigned to wipe off the altar rail after the distribution, as some ashes will have fallen there and may soil the rail.

– The rubrics say that in the Mass following the solemn blessing of the ashes, the prayers at the foot of the altar are omitted and that the celebrant ascends the altar directly, kisses it, and begins the Introit. The rest of the Mass follows as usual.

The Mass:

Proper Mass, no Gloria, no Credo, preface of Lent, oratio super populum after Postcommunion



Until the I Sunday of Lent, the Office continues as per annum.

Matins: Invitatorium, Hymn, antiphons and psalms per annum as given in the psalter; at last three psalms use 2nd scheme; 3 lessons proper (homilia in Evangelium diei), no Te Deum

Lauds: Wednesday antiphons and psalms of the 2nd place; remainder per annum as given in the psalter except proper antiphon at Benedictus Cum ieiunatis and proper oration; preces are said.

Hours: Wednesday antiphons and psalms; remainder per annum as given in the psalter

Vespers: Wednesday antiphons and psalms; remainder per annum as given in the psalter except proper antiphon at Magnificat Thesaurizate vobis and proper oration; preces are said.

Compline: Of Wednesday


– Ashes which were blessed on Ash Wednesday may be imposed on the faithful on Sunday either before or after Mass for the benefit of those who were unable to to come to the Ash Wednesday Mass, which is not of obligation. For this, the priest wears surplice and violet stole. During this period of time, the ashes may also be taken by a priest to the sick and imposed upon them, such as in the context of his scheduled sick calls.