The Diocese of Grand Rapids is planning a pandemic friendly Ash Wednesday. In an effort to reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets, churches have been instructed on how to administer ashes. 

The Vatican issued guidance about Ash Wednesday last month. Ashes will still be received but churches will decide if they will apply the ashes to the congregations forehead or if they will be sprinkled on parishioner's heads. According to the Diocese, sprinkling ashes is commonly used in Rome and other countries each year.

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Aaron Sanders, director of Office Worship for the Diocese of Grand Rapids told Fox 17,

"Even if receiving ashes looks a little different this year, the message of Ash Wednesday and what we’re practicing is still the same. It’s a time to… repent and focus in on our faith more as we prepare for Easter.”

Some churches might opt to use Q-Tips to apply ashes. Ash Wednesday is a Christian observance which represents the first day of Lent and the starting of approximately 6 weeks of fasting and penance. Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter Sunday.

Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash

St. Mary's Catholic Church will have a celebration of their 12:00 pm Ash Wednesday Mass live from St. Mary Church (Grand Rapids). Come in person or participate through their YouTube livestream at https://youtu.be/IyehclJALho.

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