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Diocese of Grand Rapids prepares for pandemic-friendly Ash Wednesday

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 18:07:34-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As with most things during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ash Wednesday will look different this year.

According to the Diocese of Grand Rapids, parishioners will remain in their seats and at once, the presiding minister will call on them all to repent to reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets.

Ordinarily, priests ask each recipient to “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”.

The Vatican issued guidance about Ash Wednesday last month.

Ashes will still be received, but in some parishes ashes will be sprinkled over a parishioner’s head. The Diocese of Grand Rapids say it’s up to each minister’s preference.

According to the Diocese, sprinkling ashes is commonly used in Rome and other countries each year.

“Even if receiving ashes looks a little different this year, the message of Ash Wednesday and what we’re practicing is still the same,” said Aaron Sanders, director of Office Worship for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. “It’s a time to… repent and focus in on our faith more as we prepare for Easter.”

More details regarding how churches around the country are preparing for Ash Wednesday can be found here.