HomeNewsManila archdiocese to revert to imposition of ashes during Ash Wednesday observance

Manila archdiocese to revert to imposition of ashes during Ash Wednesday observance

“We will revert to the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful,” read the letter of instruction released by the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission

The Archdiocese of Manila will revert to the imposition of ashes during this year’s Ash Wednesday celebration on February 22, the official start of the Christian observance of the season of Lent.

“We will revert to the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful,” read the letter of instruction released by the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission to the media this week.

The letter, which was signed by Father Carmelo Arada Jr., vice chancellor of the archdiocese, reminded priests and lay ministers that the formula for the imposition of ashes is “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”



In Filipino, the following formula should be used: “Magbagong-buhay ka at sa Mabuting Balita sumampalataya” or “Alalahanin mong abo ang iyong pinanggalingan at abo rin sa wakas ang iyong babalikan.””

Father Arada said the the imposition of ashes should always be done “in the context of a liturgical celebration.”

While priests and “extraordinary ministers of the Holy Communion” may visit the sick and the elderly for the imposition of ashes, the archdiocese discourages the faithful of the self-imposition of ashes.

“We receive the ashes because the call to repentance is addressed to us by Christ through the Church and it is also through the ministry of the Church that we are reconciled with God and each other,” said Father Arada.

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Meanwhile, he urged the faithful to offer the “fruit of our Lenten penance” during the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper as our “gifts for the poor.”

“We can also contribute to Alay Kapwa that funds our social services for the poor or to FAST2FEED or Hapag-Asa to feed the hungry and malnourished children,” said the priest.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines earlier said it will not issue common guidelines for the observance of Ash Wednesday this year.

“We will not be issuing common guidelines as CBCP this year. We will leave that to the judgment of individual bishops,” said Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, president of the bishops’ conference.

Ash Wednesday
A priest sprinkles ash on the head of a child during Ash Wednesday observance on the Philippine province of Pangasinan on Feb. 26, 2020. (Photo by Jojo Rinoza)

In the past two years, during the pandemic, the bishops’ conference issued guidelines to in the observance of Ash Wednesday as precautions against the coronavirus disease.

These included the giving of small plastic sachets containing ashes to the faithful, the wearing of face masks, and refraining from holding hands.

In 2022, some dioceses allowed priests to revert to the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful while sprinkling of ashes on the crown remained an option.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has issued a reminder to the public to continuously protect themselves even with the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“We should continue to be aware of our individual risk through the assessment of our surroundings and settings,” said the Health department in a statement.

It added that individuals should know when to use layers of protection and when to wear a face mask.

“Today, we have kept cases manageable and low, thanks to these practices. Let’s continue protecting ourselves by assessing our risk and to get vaccinated/boosted,” said the agency.

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