Ash Wednesday

The Latest

Pope Francis arrives at the Paul VI Hall for his weekly general audience on Ash Wednesday Feb. 22, 2023.

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday: Free yourself ‘from the dictatorship of full schedules’ 

Feb 22, 2023

By Hannah Brockhaus

“This,” the pope said, “is the favorable time to be converted, to stop looking at ourselves and to start looking... Read more


Where do Ash Wednesday ashes come from?

Feb 21, 2023

By Mary Farrow

“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Read more

Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrates Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill in Rome, Italy, March 2, 2022.

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday: Lent is about eternal rewards, not appearances

Mar 2, 2022

By Hannah Brockhaus

The pope’s homily was read by Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Read more

Pope Francis at the general audience in Paul VI Hall on March 2, 2022.

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday: Lent is a time for conversion and interior renewal

Mar 2, 2022

By Courtney Mares

The pope was speaking at his Wednesday general audience. Read more

Pope Francis’ general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Feb. 23, 2022.

Pope Francis cancels Ash Wednesday Mass, trip to Florence due to knee pain

Feb 25, 2022

By Hannah Brockhaus

The Holy See press office said the pope was suffering from ‘acute gonalgia.’ Read more

Pope Francis during his general audience in Paul VI Hall on January 26, 2022.

Pope Francis’ Lenten message: Addiction to digital media can hurt human relationships

Feb 24, 2022

By Courtney Mares

"May the corporal fasting to which Lent calls us fortify our spirit for the battle against sin,” Pope Francis said. Read more

Pope Francis says Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 17, 2021. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday: Lent is a journey from slavery to freedom

Feb 17, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

The 40 days of Lent are an opportunity to turn from the slavery of sin to the freedom found in... Read more

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday 2021: Vatican offers guidance on ash distribution amid COVID-19 pandemic

Jan 12, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

The Vatican gave guidance Tuesday about how priests can distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

A priest signs the forehead of a child as catholics take part in the Ash Wednesday celebration at the St. Patrick cathedral in Maiduguri on February 26, 2020.

Wear black to protest anti-Christian violence, Nigerian Catholics told

Feb 26, 2020

The bishops of Nigeria told the nation’s Catholics to wear black on Ash Wednesday to protest the ongoing persecution of... Read more

Penitential procession towards the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Aventino for Ash Wednesday.

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday: Confession purifies hearts

Feb 26, 2020

By Courtney Mares

Before going to confession, Pope Francis recommended, people should stand in front of the Crucifix and contemplate Christ on the... Read more

President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump at the Elysee Palace, Paris.

'Repent and accept the Gospel' Trumps say in Ash Wednesday statement

Feb 26, 2020

“This powerful and sacred tradition reminds us of our shared mortality, Christ’s saving love, and the need to repent and... Read more

Utah school apologizes after student forced to remove Lenten ashes

Mar 9, 2019

A school district in Utah has issued an apology after a fourth-grade student was told by a teacher that he... Read more

Fr Bill Carloni (left) and Fr. Pat Conroy, SJ, at the distribution of ashes on Capitol Hill, 2019.

Ash Wednesday liturgies held on Capitol Hill

Mar 6, 2019

By Christine Rousselle

Catholic members of Congress participated in the tradition Lenten practice of receiving ashes at the Capitol Wednesday. During the liturgy,... Read more

Archbishop Leo Cushley distributes ashes during an Ash Wednesday service in a Scottish Parliament building.

First Ash Wednesday service held in Scottish Parliament

Mar 6, 2019

The Scottish Parliament hosted a Blessing and Distribution of Ashes for the first time this year, with Archbishop Leo Cushley... Read more


Science – not sabotage – behind Filipino 'Rash Wednesday' mystery

Feb 16, 2018

By Perry West

After some Filipino Catholics developed mysterious rashes on Ash Wednesday, the Diocese of Caloocan investigated to determine the cause of... Read more

Pope Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday at the Church of Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino on February 14, 2018.

Pope on Ash Wednesday: Lent is the perfect time to 'come home'

Feb 14, 2018

By Hannah Brockhaus

At Mass for Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis invited everyone to live the 40 days of Lent as a time to... Read more

Ash Wednesday trumps Valentine's, Chicago archdiocese says

Jan 29, 2018

This year, Ash Wednesday—which begins the penitential season of Lent with a day of fasting, abstinence, and prayer—falls on Feb. 14,... Read more

Pope Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass at Basilica Santa Sabina, March 1, 2017.

Pope on Ash Wednesday: Feeling suffocated by sin? Let God save you

Mar 1, 2017

By Hannah Brockhaus

At Ash Wednesday Mass, Pope Francis spoke about the bad habits, negativity, and sin present in our lives which cause... Read more

Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square for a Jubilee of Mercy audience June 18, 2016.

Lent isn’t just about penance – it’s also a time of hope, Pope Francis says

Mar 1, 2017

By Hannah Brockhaus

On Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis said that while Lent is certainly a time of mortification, it’s also a journey of... Read more

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Ash Wednesday in St. Peter's Basilica, Feb. 10, 2016.

Lent is a time of pruning and reconciliation, Pope Francis says

Feb 10, 2016

By Elise Harris

In his Ash Wednesday homily, Pope Francis said that Lent is the perfect time to let go of selfish and... Read more