Houston Catholics Struggle With Historic Storm, Power Outages

The historic winter storms in February shattered electric plants across Texas, prompting energy providers to force blackouts across the state to preserve what fragile electricity they could generate. At least 49 deaths have been linked to the storms and subsequent power outages.

It Was ‘A Good Way to Start the Lenten Season’

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.

A Brief History: The Practice of Sprinkling Ashes

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.

For Ash Wednesday, Vatican Asks Priests to ‘Sprinkle’ Ashes on Heads

The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments asked priests to take special anti-COVID-19 precautions this year when distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, including sprinkling ashes on the top of people’s heads rather than using them to make a cross on people’s foreheads.