Ash Wednesday

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Ash Wednesday

1st Class, Violet
No Gloria; No Credo; Pref. of Lent; Prayer over the people

Blessing and Imposition of Ashes before principal Mass. At the Mass following the Blessing of Ashes the Preparatory Prayers are omitted.


Præsta, Dómine, fidélibus tuis : ut jejuniórum veneránda solémnia, et cóngrua pietáte suscípiant, et secúra devotióne percúrrant. Per Dóminum.

Let us pray.

Grant, O Lord, unto thy faithful people, that they may both piously undertake the venerable solemnities of the Fast, and persevere in the same with unfailing devotion. Through.


Ash Wednesday is, from a liturgical point of view, one of the most important days of the year. In the first place, this day opens the liturgical season of Lent, which formerly began with the First Sunday and comprised only thirty-six days. The addition of Wednesday and three following days brought the number to forty, which is that of our Lord’s fast in the desert.

In the Old Law, ashes were generally a symbolic expression of grief, morning or repentance. In the Early Church, the use of ashes had a like signification and with sackcloth formed part of the public penances. The blessing of the ashes … was originally instituted for public penitents, but is now intended for all Christians, as Lent should be a time of penance for all.

(image: Spitzweg's Ash Wednesday)

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