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Ash Wednesday: How Long to Keep the Ash Crucifix?

Ever wondered how long you need to keep the Ash Wednesday Cross? This post will give you insight if you gonna keep it for the whole day or remove it right away.

What is Ash Wednesday?

Crucifix

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent season (approximately 40 days until Holy Thursday – Jesus last supper). During the season, Roman Catholics age of 14 years old and above are encourage to do fasting by avoiding meat products on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (including all Fridays within the lent).

Why Ash?

Ash

This Catholic custom is credited to Pope Gregory I. In fact, the use of ash is based on the Roman’s translation “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” of the gospel of Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Practices

Catholic Church

In Europe, the priests usually sprinkle ashes on the crown of the head. Whereas in English-speaking countries like US, UK and the Philippines, the priests use ashes to make a cross on the forehead.

Due to the recent alarming spread of Covid-19. The CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) is encouraging the priests to just sprinkle the ashes instead of making a mark to avoid body contact.

How Long to Keep the Ash Crucifix?

Catholic Church

Keeping the ash crucifix is the same logic as “Are you gonna keep the ashes on your head all day if it will be sprinkled?

My recommendation is to remove it right away for hygiene purpose. Ash is dirty and oil may harbour more dust and it is not good especially if you have sensitive skin. However, it’s all up to one’s belief and practices. If you are happy to keep it all day, there’s no problem about it but don’t feel guilty or feel you have sinned if you removed it right away.

Worried about Covid-19? Maybe you are interested to read my article here.

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