Ash Wednesday Masses with Distribution of Ashes

Wed., February 17, 2021 (All day) ·

Masses with the Distribution of Ashes

On February 17, Ash Wednesday, Masses with the distribution of ashes will be offered at the following times:
Distribution of ashes is not available outside of Mass. There is no Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Ash Wednesday.

Invitation from the Rector

Each year on Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that all we see and experience in our world will pass away. Our only hope is in the Lord, who will rescue and bring us to eternal life in Him.

This Lent, as last, our battle with the trials and sufferings of this world includes a deadly pandemic that has changed the fabric of daily life. Yet, God is constantly there to strengthen and refresh us. My prayer for you this Lent is that you will reach out to the Lord with a spirit renewed through prayer and penance and with an ever-increasing awareness of the power of His love for us. 

Please join us in experiencing this season of penance and renewal through in-person and online liturgies and music events, prayer within your hearts as well as within the Cathedral walls, virtual retreats and lectures, and opportunities for giving to those in need. 

                                                                 —Rev. Msgr. W. Ronald Jameson, Rector

Pope Francis Modifies Procedure for Distribution of Ashes

Ashes will be distributed at the Cathedral according to new Vatican instructions that call for a silent sprinkling of ashes on the head rather than imposing on the forehead, as summarized in a January 12, 2021 Vatican News article, quoted as follows:

"After blessing the ashes and sprinkling them with holy water in silence, the priest addresses those present, reciting once the formula found in the Roman Missal: 'Repent, and believe in the Gospel' or 'Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return'. At that point, ... the priest 'cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask, and distributes ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places.' He then sprinkles the ashes on each person’s head 'without saying anything.'”

Read Deacon Bart Merella's article, "Ashes Symbolizing Lent," for a look at how ashes came to signal the beginning of our Lenten journey, and in particular, the historical development of the "sprinkling" of ashes similar to that now called for by this Vatican instruction.

Stations of the Cross on YouTube

This year Stations of the Cross videotaped in the Cathedral are available on the Cathedral You Tube channel beginning at 1pm on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Watch and pray with our Virtual Stations of the Cross on Fridays of Lent, or whenever you wish to make this devotion. 

Lenten Confessions by Appointment

Confessions continue to be heard by appointment in the North Conference Room. Call the rectory office at 202-347-3215 to make an appointment, leaving your phone number, and one of our priests will return your call. Social distancing will be maintained for Confession.