Ash Wednesday 2020 Liturgy, Jokes, Food, No meat rule, Costume, Christianity

Ash Wednesday 2020, the first day of the penitential season of Lent in the Catholic Church, is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is a “movable” feast that is assigned a date in the calendar only after the date of Easter Sunday is calculated.
How is it calculated? I’m glad you asked.

According to the norms established by the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) and later adopted for Western Christianity at the Synod of Whitey, Easter Sunday falls each year on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This year the vernal equinox/spring equinox falls on Friday, March 20, 2020 and the first full moon after that occurs on Wednesday, April 21, 2020. Next year, in 2021, the full moon will come on March 19, 2021 (after the spring equinox). Yet, the ecclesiastical Easter will fall on April 12, 2020, whereas the astronomical Easter will take place April 19, 2020. Therefore, Easter Sunday is celebrated this year on April 12, which is also April Fool's Month. If you want Ash Wednesday, just count backwards 46 days and you get February 26, 2020.

Future Easter Dates 

YearEaster Sunday (Gregorian calendar)Eastern Orthodox Church (Julian calendar)
2020April 12April 19
2021April 4May 2
2022April 17April 24

But why 46? I thought Lent was the season of “40 days” in the desert. What’s the deal?
The six Sundays in Lent are not considered part of the official “Lenten fast” (every Sunday is a special remembrance of the Resurrection of Christ), and so if you subtract six from 46, you get the famous 40 days of Lent.

Ash Wednesday Liturgy

The Proclamation
(Readings: NZPB page 574 or page 696)

Or the following:

Joel 2:1-2,12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

Matthew 6:1-6,16-21           (Revised Common Lectionary)

Psalm 51:1-17 (page 256f.) is used after the first reading. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” may be used by the congregation as a refrain after verse 2, 4a, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17.

Or Psalm 51:1-4a, 10-12, 15 as follows:
  • Refrain: Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Have mercy on me O God in your great kindness:
in the fullness of your mercy blot out my offences.
Wash away all my guilt:
and cleanse me from my sin.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

For I acknowledge my faults:
and my sin is always before me.
Against you only have I sinned
and done evil in your sight.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Create in me a clean heart O God:
and renew a right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence:
do not take your holy spirit from me.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Give me the joy of your help again:
and strengthen me with a willing spirit.
O Lord open my lips:
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.          (page 256f.)

The Sermon may include an explanation of Lent and an invitation to keep it faithfully. Then all may stand. The presider may say these or other suitable words.

E te whanau a te Karaiti/ Dear friends in Christ, every year we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection. Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration.  In order that our Lent may be a time of renewal and growth we begin this season by remembering our need for repentance and for the forgiveness of God proclaimed by Jesus Christ.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination and repentance, by prayer, fasting, self?]denial, and giving to those in need, and by reading and meditating on the word of God.

Let us kneel and in silence call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.


Either the Ten Commandments (page 521), with the response after each commandment, or the following litany of penitence may be used.

We have not loved you with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.

Lord have mercy.

We have been deaf to your call to serve.
We have been unfaithful, proud, and hypocritical.

Christ have mercy.

We have been self-centered, and have taken advantage of others.

Lord have mercy.

We have been envious of those more fortunate than ourselves.

Christ have mercy.

We have loved worldly goods and comforts too much.
We have been dishonest in daily life and work.

Lord have mercy.

We have neglected prayer and worship, and have failed to commend the faith that is in us.

Christ have mercy.

We have been blind to human need and suffering, and indifferent to injustice and cruelty.

Lord have mercy.

We have thought uncharitably about others, and we have been prejudiced towards those who differ from us.

Christ have mercy.

We have wasted and polluted your creation, and lacked concern for those who come after us.

Lord have mercy.

Then the presider and people say together the following or another confession.

Merciful God,
we have sinned
in what we have thought and said,
in the wrong we have done
and in the good we have not done.
We have sinned in ignorance:
we have sinned in weakness:
we have sinned through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry.
We repent and turn to you.
Forgive us, for our Saviour Christ’s sake,
and renew our lives to the glory of your name. Amen.    (page 407)

If the imposition of ashes is to follow, the presider says,

Let us pray.

[silent prayer]

Loving God,
you create us from the dust of the earth;
may these ashes be for us a sign
of our penitence and our mortality,
and a reminder that only by the cross
do we receive eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Those who desire to receive ashes come forward. The ashes are imposed on each person with any of the following or other suitable words. Two sentences may be used together, or imposition may be in silence.

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.
Repent and believe the Good News: God longs for you to be whole.

Or ashes may be distributed in a question and answer form.

Will you turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ? I will.

During this time a psalm, hymn, or anthem may be used.

This penitential part of the service may be concluded by the presider declaring the Absolution:

Through the cross of Christ,
God have mercy on you,
pardon you and set you free.
Know that you are forgiven
and be at peace.
God strengthen you in all goodness
and keep you in life eternal.

Psalm 51    Miserere mei, Deus

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your
                                loving-kindness; *
     in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness *
     and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, *
     and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you only have I sinned *
     and done what is evil in your sight.

5 And so you are justified when you speak *
     and upright in your judgment

6 Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *
     a sinner from my mother's womb.

7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *
     and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

8 Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
     wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

9 Make me hear of joy and gladness, *
     that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10 Hide your face from my sins *
    and blot out all my iniquities.

11 Cn me a clean heart, O God, *
    renew a right spirit within me.

12 Cnot away from your presence *
    take not your holy Spirit from me.

13 Gthe joy of your saving help again *
    and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

A Liturgy for Ash Wednesday
(Use all or part, add hymns, readings etc as you see fit)

Opening Prayer

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good
ALL: His love endures forever

Into your presence we come, Lord
a few moments of quietness
in a busy world
that demands our attention
Breathe on us now
that we might know your presence
and your power
to see this day though

A Psalm

(These verses from Psalm 51 are effective when read by three persons, but can equally be shared between two)

A - Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;

B - According to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

C - Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

A - For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

B - Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,

C - So that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

A - Create in me a pure heart, O God,

B - And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

C - O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

A - You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

B - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

C - A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Confession and Forgiveness

In the blazing light of your love
our failings are illuminated
our failure to give
our failure to love
our failure to follow
our failure to serve
our failure to be the people
you would have us be.
Forgive us and renew us.
You know our nature
know our failings
Enfold us in your arms
that we might daily know
your forgiveness and healing love.

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness. Psalm 103.8

The Lord’s Prayer

We say together the words of the Lord's Prayer.
All: Our Father…

Reading - Matthew 6:1-21

Lord, grant us simplicity of faith
And a generosity of service
That gives without counting cost
A life overflowing with Grace
Poured out from the One
Who gave everything
That we might show
The power of love
To a broken world
And share the truth
From a living Word
Lord, grant us simplicity of faith
And a yearning to share it


May we know the love of the heavenly Father deep in our hearts
May we understand our significance in the centre of His family,
and the bonds that hold us so close as brother and sister
May we understand the lengths that He was prepared to go for all mankind
and freely respond in the Today which he has given for us to cherish.
All: Amen
Let us bless the Lord.
ALL: Thanks be to God.

Ash Wednesday Jokes, Meme, No Meat Rule, Costume, Christianity

Why do we put ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year's Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel" or "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return"

First, you can not eat meat on Ash Wednesday, which marks 40 days before Easter and the beginning of Lent. According to the Catholic law of abstinence, Catholics aged 14 and older must refrain from meat on Fridays altogether during this 40-day period, as well as Ash Wednesday.
The Catholic law of abstinence dictates that Catholics aged 14 and older refrain from meat on Fridays altogether, and on Ash Wednesday. Additionally, Catholics aged 18 to 59 should fast on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, defined by the Roman Catholic church as consuming only one full meal, or two smaller meals.
Catholics age 14 and older should abstain from meat on Ash Wednesdays and all the Fridays during Lent, especially Good Friday, which is the last one before Easter.

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