This year, instead of people having blessed Ashes placed on their foreheads by a priest on Ash Wednesday (Feb 17th), the Diocese of Cork and Ross is organising for special envelopes to be printed and distributed to the parishes.
Before Ash Wednesday these will have Ashes placed into them (safely) in parishes and they will be blessed in the churches on the morning of Ash Wednesday by the priests at Mass – behind closed doors.
They will then be available in the churches during the day so that people who can stop by for a prayer can also take one of the envelopes of Ashes and take them home to their own household and to another house where they may be part of a care bubble.
Guidance has been given to parishes to ensure compliance with public health and restrictions.
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is a day of fast and abstinence. It’s one of two days in the year (Good Friday is the other day) when Catholics are required to fast (restrict to one light meal and one snack) and abstain from meat, alcohol and luxuries.
(This applies to anyone over 14 except those who are elderly or unwell.)