Wednesday, February 17 is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian tradition.
This year, the religious holiday will be celebrated differently in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw than what parishioners are normally used to. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people do things, even attending religious services.
Due to the pandemic, ashes will sprinkled on the tops of the heads of the faithful, consistent with a tradition that has been used in Europe for more than 1,000 years. This is also how ashes will be distributed across the globe this Ash Wednesday.
The method of distributing ashes this year avoids any kind of direct physical contact with those receiving ashes. Masks must be worn by everyone, including ministers, during the distribution of ashes. All ministers should sanitize their hands before and after the distribution of ashes. Receiving ashes during Mass is not required. Catholics can still celebrate Lent even if they decide that receiving ashes is not the right thing for them this year.
For more information about Catholic services, visit saginaw.org.