Students from Holy Cross Academy gather to watch palm burning in preparation for Ash Wednesday. It was a bright and sunny day, but cold. Happily the wind blew in one direction and not too swiftly.
I Want the Cross, Not a Sprinkle
When you give me my ashes
Please use your thumb
In my humble opinion
Sprinkling is dumb.
Ash that is sprinkled will get in my hair
And stick to my product
And glue itself there.
I fashion my coif
With the greatest of care
So give me my ashes
But please, watch the hair.
The most ancient use of ashes in prayer was as a a sign of lamentation and grief, often accompanied by the wearing of sackcloth. The ashes were almost wallowed in and sprinkled, especially on and about the head.
Later the use of ashes developed as a sign of sorrow and penance, especially for those who had committed publicly notorious sins and were enrolled in the Order of Penitents. The penitential imposition ashes on Ash Wednesday stems from this tradition..
Perhaps during the Protestant Reformation, the practice of imposing the ashes on the forehead of Catholics developed as a way of distinguishing Catholics and as a particular public witness of the faith.
During the pandemic, recourse to the ancient practice of sprinkling ashes on the head was made by many dioceses to avoid contagion with touch. One obvious difference is that the imposition of ashes on the forehead is a publicly visible sign, while the scattering of ashes on the top of the head is invisible.
We mostly avoided sprinkling because to avoid surprising people with ash in their hair and used cotton applicators last year.
What do you think, sprinkled on the head or imposed on the forehead?
Our parish poll shows 60% in favor of eliminating mandatory masks on the part of the priest and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
As you may know, the school mask mandate imposed by the governor is scheduled to be rescinded in early March. The school children have been wearing masks in the church for mass, since technically, they are at a school supported activity when in church as group. When this obligation ceases, it would be logical to discontinue wearing masks at daily mass for the priest as well.
I think the change will also come to Sunday Mass not long after that, depending on circumstances in the next few weeks.
Work crews removed the trees at Ward Avenue and Rumson Road on the property which has been placed under easement by the County for the new bridge. They did a quick, efficient and neat job without too much disruption of school or traffic.
When Mass is celebrated for a martyr, Jesus' sacrifice becomes just a bit more obvious. The priest's chasuable is reflected in the corpus and parts of the altar cross. No other color reflects like red.
During the consecration, the paten often reflects the altar lights onto the host in an inspiring, grace-filled pattern.
Crews began cutting down trees lining Rumson Road for the new bridge construction today. They began with some trees on the south side of Rumson Road across the street from the school. Work will likely take several days and involve occasional delays on Rumson Road.
It may be better for school parents and visitors to the Church to avoid using Rumson Road for arrival and pickup.
Poll Results: Should Father and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion continue to wear masks when distributing communion?
The bishop has made wearing a face mask optional for those distributing Eucharist, at the pastor's discretion. Before we change our practice at Holy Cross, please take a one-question survey to let us know what you think.