Ash Wednesday


What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is a holy day of the Church of universal fast and abstinence. It begins the season of Lent. It’s liturgies are characteristically marked by the faithful receiving ashes on their foreheads. The ashes are branches of olive trees or palm branches which have been blessed the previous year. The Penitential Act at the beginning of Mass is also omitted. Moreover, while a holy day, it not a day of obligation.

The Church calls all Catholics 14 years and older who are in good health to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Catholics ages 18 to 59 years old should also fast by consuming only one full meal. Two other meals that together do not equal another full meal is permitted on these days.




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