Questions and answers about Ash Wednesday

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The Most Rev. John G. Vlasny, the Archbishop of Portland, his forehead smudged with ashes, performs the Ash Wednesday ceremony on parishioners in Portland (Feb. 8, 2002).
Photo by Michael Lloyd

The Most Rev. John G. Vlasny, the Archbishop of Portland, his forehead smudged with ashes, performs the Ash Wednesday ceremony on parishioners in Portland (Feb. 8, 2002). Photo by Michael Lloyd

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(RNS) Everything you need to know about Ash Wednesday, which kicks off the 40-day period of reflection, penance and fasting in Lent.

  • Earold Gunter

    I think instead of ash crosses on only one day of the year, those that practice this tradition of publicly displaying the instrument of their saviors torturous death should opt instead to have a cross tattooed on their foreheads. Not only would this be a show of real commitment to their belief, it would make it easier for non-believers to quickly identify them. Also the more zealous among them could take artistic liberty and jazz up their tattoo’s with blood and gore dripping off of it to more boldly make that “I celebrate human sacrifice” statement better to everyone they encounter.

    Religion is poison!

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  • At All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, we make a cross in ashes on the back of a person’s wrist. It represents a juncture between the horizontal human and the vertical divine.

  • Angela Montgomery

    I see the ashes are a reminder that your life is short. But in knowing that your life is short, what are you doing to make it into the kindgom of God.

  • Angela Montgomery

    After done all the ash stuff and went through the 40 days of fasting, etc. have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. Some things are just an outward show and the life has no change at all. Jesus is the way, the only way. John 3:16

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  • John Dacey

    I am a Christian Catholic born again by baptism into the Church Jesus Christ began upon Peter. I know by history (there’s only one church that in unity that goes all the way back to Jesus), and by Scripture that the Catholic Church is the Church of the Bible. All other church’s were started by men.

    Did Jesus say upon this rock Peter I will start my Church in the 20th century? No he did not. Think about it. Live Jesus!


    yeah my dear Angela Jesus is always the only path to heaven but humanbeings natually are absentminded that is why all this isdone to put them back to christ


    Thank you very much mr J Daceiy for your understanding many people are born to families that are protestant thet learn many historical religious teachings but they dont come to the point that the Catholic church was left by the same JESUS whom they believe in

  • UltraMontane

    I thinks the Coptic Christians have already had this practice centuries ago, of getting a tattoo on their forehead of a cross.

    Atheism is poison!

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Please Mr.J Darcey,you’re just the typical simple-minded catholic taken in by the bogus”interpretation”of Matthew 16:17-19. If catholic doctrine is to be believed,we find ourselves faced with an unresolveable contradiction,because Almighty God Himself declares in too many places that He Himself is THE ROCK.(In fact,in 2nd Sameul 23:3 He is specifically called The Rock of Israel).Now,I’m no scholar per se,but I cannot imagine The God of Israel,Jesus,relegating His title to a mere human being;from my perspective that makes your church’s attempt to designate Peter as that”rock”bogus,no matter how long its been interpretated as such.Think about it,J Darcey; free your mind in Christ and stop being an institutional syncophant and a slave to bogus”traditions”!!

  • Coral

    If you are a committed Christian people will know it by your actions. You don’t need a tattoo or a sign to let them know.

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