DIOCESE OF ORANGE TO CELEBRATE ASH WEDNESDAY WITH CHANGES DUE TO COVID-19

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2021) — Catholic Christians around the world will celebrate Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17, and in the Diocese of Orange, modifications to customary practices will be made to accommodate for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parishes will follow the protocol approved by the Holy See, which calls for the sprinkling of ashes on the head. The sprinkling of ashes is a method that is already preferred in many parts of the world, though it is not customary in the United States. A parish may also decide, however, to allow for the common American practice of tracing a cross on the forehead, using ashes.

Also, for this year only, the priest will say the formula only one time in a general way before the ashes are distributed, rather than repeating the formula for each individual, which is a change from the past. The priest will say either, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

Ash Wednesday also marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day liturgical season that concludes on Holy Thursday night, preceding Easter Sunday. It is a time for reflection for Catholics around the world who view these days as a time for a change of heart, personal repentance and an openness to the grace of a fresh beginning by means of the traditional practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

“As we prepare for the triumph of the Resurrection in this time of a pandemic, we are forced to examine the meaning of Lent, the suffering of Jesus Christ and the suffering of our neighbors and friends,” said Bishop Kevin Vann. “We become closer to God by lifting up our hearts in prayer, sacrificing our own needs and giving of ourselves to help our sickest and neediest brothers and sisters.”

Please click here or visit www.rcbo.org/ashwednesday for a complete listing of Ash Wednesday parish Masses and Services throughout the Diocese of Orange. Service languages include Vietnamese, Spanish and English. Several Masses will be celebrated at Christ Cathedral, the spiritual home of the Bishop of Orange.

Below is Christ Cathedral’s schedule:

  • 6:30 a.m. Vietnamese (livestreamed)
  • 8:15 a.m. Bilingual English/Spanish
  • 12:10 p.m. Vietnamese
  • 5:30 p.m. Bilingual English/Vietnamese (livestreamed)
  • 7 p.m. Spanish
  • 8:30 p.m. Trilingual Liturgy of the Word service with distribution of ashes. No Mass.
  • The ashes used on Ash Wednesday, which always come from burning the blessed palm branches used on Palm Sunday the previous year, indicate that the person belongs to Jesus Christ, who died on the cross. The act is an imitation of the spiritual mark put on a Christian in baptism, when the person is delivered from slavery to sin and the devil and made a servant of righteousness and of Christ.

About the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange

With 1.3 million Catholics, 57 parishes, five Catholic Centers, and 36 schools, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is one of the largest, most-diverse faith communities in the United States. The Diocese empowers Catholics across Orange County to have an active life of faith that is integrated and woven into the fabric of their daily lives through the community and sacramental life of the Church. Under the leadership of Bishop Kevin Vann, the Diocese works to establish and support dynamic, vibrant parishes and schools, and welcome all to live the Gospel with faith, joy, charity and unity. Christ Cathedral, the spiritual home of the Bishop of Orange, was dedicated in July 2019. Learn more about the Diocese of Orange at www.rcbo.org

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