Marywood offers multiple locations to receive ashes for Ash Wednesday


Photo credit/ Katlynn Whitaker

Rev. Joseph Elston blesses the ashes during the Ash Wednesday Mass that was held at noon in the Marian Chapel. Today marks the start of the Lenten season for Catholics.

Amanda Duncklee, Community Editor

Easter is early this year, which means Ash Wednesday is here more quickly than usual.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season, and many Christians celebrate by receiving ashes. At Marywood, there are several times for distribution of ashes and one time for both a Mass and distribution.

The times and locations are spread throughout the day: a distribution at 8:30 a.m. in the Fireplace Lounge; a Mass and distribution at 12 p.m. in the Marian Chapel; a distribution at 4:45 p.m. in the Marian Chapel; a distribution at 5 p.m. in the McGowan Center Atrium.

“We order ashes for 100 people,” said Mary Roche, Secretary of Campus Ministy. “We have packets [of ashes] from previous years.” Roche added that there used to be a priest who had a burner but he is no longer at Marywood.

Roche also explained why the schedule for the distribution of ashes is set up the way it is.

“[The times are] the same as last year, and the schedule tries to accommodate people at different times,” said Roche. “McGowan is to accommodate grad students who have class at night.”

There will be chairs set up in the locations listed above for the services. Fr. Joeseph Elston, Chaplain of Marywood, will preside the Mass at noon. Sr. John Michele Southwick, IHM, Asst. Director of Campus Ministry, and Sr. Catherine Luxner, IHM, Director of Campus Ministry, will distribute the ashes at the other locations.

The purpose of Ash Wednesday is to prepare Christians for the death and Resurrection of Jesus. People receive ashes in a cross shape on their foreheads. The ashes received are made from burned and blessed palms from the previous Palm Sunday.

The ashes are more than black remnants of leaves; they symbolize penance, grief over Christ’s death and the belief that humans were made from dust and shall return to dust.

In the New International Version of the Bible, Genesis 2:7 states, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” A parallel to this verse is Genesis 3:19 from the same version, which reads, “…return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Freshman forensic psychology major Patricia Ingulli celebrated Ash Wednesday throughout her whole life, though she will not be receiving ashes at Marywood.

“I won’t be celebrating here; I’m a commuter,” said Ingulli. “I saw the email this morning, so I’m aware [of the services].”

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Twitter: @ADuncklee_TWW