This Ash Wednesday, priests and bishops across the Diocese of Brooklyn imposed ashes in a new way due to the ongoing pandemic. Under Pope Francis’ recommendation, ashes were sprinkled on worshippers’ heads instead of drawing the sign of the cross on the forehead.
Though American Catholics are used to receiving their ashes from thumb to forehead on Ash Wednesday, this year, ashes will be sprinkled on their heads. The gesture and practice of sprinkling ashes, however, has a longstanding history within Jewish and Catholic traditions.
Parishes across the state of Texas have canceled Ash Wednesday Masses amid a winter storm that’s left over three million people without power and brought record low temperatures all week.