· Vatican City ·

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Distribution of ashes
in time of pandemic

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15 January 2021

The following is the English text of the Note on Ash Wednesday of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on how Catholic priests are to distribute ashes in the time of pandemic.

Prot. N. 17/21

Note on Ash Wednesday
Distribution of Ashes in Time of Pandemic


The Priest says the prayer for blessing the ashes. He sprinkles the ashes with holy water, without saying anything. Then he addresses all those present and only once says the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal, applying it to all in general: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”, or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

The Priest then cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The Priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,
12 January 2021

Robert Card. Sarah
Prefect

Arthur Roch
Archbishop Secretary