The very venerable Bernard J Owens wears on Ash Wednesday, Jan. February 2020, outside Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland Ashes on the forehead (Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer) Lisa DeJong / The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ash Wednesday traditionally draws Catholics from Northeast Ohio to church to be employed as a symbol of penance to smear ashes on their foreheads

This year, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is offering virtual services to residents of northeast Ohio to engage in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Personal services will change the distribution of the ashes.

Ash Wednesday, February 17 marks the beginning of 40 days of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting and conversion for Catholics, which ends on Holy Saturday before Easter. The ashes symbolize “the dust of which God made us”

The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist will be holding mass in downtown Cleveland with face-to-face and virtual services starting at 7:15 am, noon and 7 pm

Usually a priest applies the ashes to a person’s head and says the words, “Remember that you are dust, and it is to dust that you will return. Priests and deacons administer ashes during a service, and the ashes act as a symbol of repentance

Amid the pandemic, priests will bless ashes a little differently this year for personal service

The priest will bless the ashes with holy water and then say one of the refrains of the Roman Missal just once – either “Repent and believe the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust and you dust will return”

The priest then cleans his hands, puts on his face mask, and spreads ashes Instead of marking each forehead with a cross, however, he sprinkled ashes on each person’s head to avoid physical contact

On Friday February 19, Bishop Malesic will go live on Facebook at 10am for a 15-minute conversation that will focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.You can live stream the service at noon on the Diocesan website

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Ash Wednesday 2021, Ash Wednesday

World News – CA – For Ash Wednesday 2021, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is offering different types of ash distribution