Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday always falls 46 days before Easter.
While Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, all Roman Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on this day in order to mark the beginning of the Lenten season. Ash Wednesday is also a day of fasting and abstinence.
In 2016, Ash Wednesday is on February 10.
Distribution of Ashes
During Mass, the ashes which give Ash Wednesday its name are distributed. The ashes are made by burning the blessed palms that were distributed the previous year on Palm Sunday.
After the priest blesses the ashes and sprinkles them with holy water, the faithful come forward to receive them.
The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance.
7:00 am Basilica Chapel (downstairs)
12:15 pm Basilica Church (upstairs)
4:30 pm Basilica Church (upstairs)
5:30 pm Holy Cross Church
6:30 pm Holy Family Church
6:30 pm Basilica Church (Latin)
During the weekdays of Lent, Monday through Friday, starting on Thursday, February 11, Mass will be offered at 7:00 am and 12:15 pm in the Basilica Chapel.
Guidelines for fasting and abstinence