The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has issued guidance for the distribution of ashes during a time of pandemic. Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 17, 2021, this year. The Note from the Congregation reads:

The Priest says the prayer for blessing the ashes. He sprinkles the ashes with holy water, without saying anything. Then he addresses all present and only once says the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal, , applying it to all in general:

“Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The Priest then cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The Priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 12 January 2021.

Robert Card. Sarah

Arthur Roche
Archbishop Secretary


Note: CMSM’s COVID resource page is here.