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Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Changes How Ashes Will Be Distributed On Ash Wednesday

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Ash Wednesday will be a little different this year in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Due to the pandemic, diocese officials say priests will not be able to give out ashes in the traditional way. Instead of ashes on parishioners' foreheads, clergy will first bless the ashes, sprinkle them with holy water, and then address all those present.

They will say either: "Repent, and believe in the Gospel," or "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Then, the ashes will be sprinkled on top of heads instead of spread on the forehead.

Bishop David Zubik will celebrate two Masses on Ash Wednesday, both of which will be streamed to the diocese's YouTube channel. Find that link here.

The first is at noon at Divine Mercy Parish in St. Mary of Mercy Church downtown, and the second is at 6 p.m. at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland.

In addition, diocese officials are issuing guidelines on fasting throughout Lent.

The traditional observance of no meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays is being encouraged. So is fasting for healthy people ages 18-59 by limiting themselves to one full meal and two lighter meals.

Anyone with health issues that needs to eat can instead perform an act of penance or charity, the diocese says.

Also, the diocese says all Fish Frys will be takeout or delivery as parishes are being told to follow all local, state, and federal COVID-19 health and safety requirements and regulations.

For more information on Lent in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese this year, visit this link.

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