Ash Wednesday is the distribution of ashes to kick off Lent. But why do we receive ashes? Receiving ashes comes from a ceremony from many years ago. Christians who committed horrible crimes had to do a public penance. Each Ash Wednesday the Bishop blessed the hair shirts that they had to wear over the forty day penance. While those who had not committed sins recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the crime committers were taken out of the church because of their sins. They were not allowed back into church until Maundy Thursday and being awarded reconciliation. In later years, all Christians came to receive ashes out of devotion.
St. Cyprian Church, River Grove – 7:00 p.m. Mass
St. Celestine Church, Elmwood Park – 7:00 p.m. Mass