Ritual of Burning Palms
February 13, 2017
Following the 8:00am Morning Mass
Traditionally, the ashes for the Ash Wednesday service come from burning the palm fronds from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration.
Ashes are a biblical symbol of mourning and penance when the custom was to fast, wear sackcloth, sit in dust and ashes and put dust and ashes on one’s head.
Blessed ashes have been used in God’s rituals since the time of Moses.
They also symbolize death and so remind us of our mortality. Thus when the minister uses their thumb to sign one of the faithful with the ashes, they may say,
“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”