PREPARATION:

  • MC should ensure that the Sacrament has been transferred to the Sacrament House.
  • MC should check Altar Book to make sure the “Alleluias” before & after the Fraction are covered up.
  • MC places aspersorium, aspergillum, and ashes in 3 covered containers (prepared beforehand by Altar Guild) on small table placed near sedilia (use the oblong table near the Lady Chapel steps). Towels, extra water cruet, and tray with cut lemon pieces and slices of bread are placed on table below credence.
  • MC reminds clergy and choirmaster that choir will receive ashes after the service in the Lady Chapel.
  • MC confirms with clergy the number of ash stations, corresponding usually to the number of communion stations – usually two at the High Altar and one at All Saints. Ushers should let MC know beforehand if anyone is present who needs ashes brought to them.
  • SMs wear purple vestments.
  • Service leaflets and hymnals are placed in sanctuary.
  • CR carries small wooden cross.
  • MC should remind sexton to open north doors at conclusion of the Mass.
  • Incense (myrrh) is laid on in smoke sacristy prior to entrance, as usual.

ENTRANCE:

There is no entrance hymn. ALL enter the short way (via the north door) in silence in the accustomed order. The choir should already be in place in the gallery.

Mass begins with Introit; CEL censes altar during Introit.

The customary is normal through the Sermon. There is no Gloria in Excelsis; the Kyrie is immediately followed by the Salutation and Collect for Ash Wednesday. A Tract replaces the Alleluia verse at the Gradual.

IMPOSITION OF ASHES:

There is no Creed. After the sermon, SMs assemble at High Altar steps and genuflect. AA and TT take customary places at steps. MC cues TH to enter from smoke sacristy. TH has incense laid on and steps aside toward sedilia. SMs turn to face congregation and CEL bids the Lenten invitation.

SMs face altar and ALL kneel for “O Lord, save thy servants …”

SMs, MC, and TH stand. All others remain kneeling. SMs turn to face people. MC brings table with ashes to opening in center of altar rail. TH follows and stands beside SD ready to hand off thurible for censing of ashes.

CEL reads prayer and blesses ashes. MC gives aspersorium and aspergillum to CEL, who sprinkles ashes. TH passes thurible to CEL, with assist from SD if necessary, otherwise SD steps back. CEL censes ashes.

TH genuflects and exits, going above the rail and out through the gap by the smoke sacristy door. CEL distributes containers of ashes and MC removes table to side. ALL others remain kneeling.

Ashes are distributed in this order: D or priest in choir puts ashes on CEL’s forehead as CEL kneels. [CEL reciprocates to kneeling choir priest.] CEL imposes ashes on D and SD, who kneel. MC and servers receive ashes kneeling on floor. Once AA and TT have received their ashes, they may sit. SD retires to sedilia and sits.

At conclusion of distribution, SMs genuflect at center and proceed to credence where they clean their hands, assisted by MC and AA as needed.

Once CEL and D have cleansed their hands, they join SD who leads them out to center steps. SMs face altar and kneel for “Turn thou us…”

CEL alone stands and faces people for the Declaration of Absolution.

ALL stand for the Peace.

The Mass proceeds as usual, except that the Fraction is said, not sung, and Alleluia is omitted (and will be throughout Lent).

DISMISSAL:

There is no closing hymn. Following Blessing and Dismissal, ALL take their usual places facing the Altar and genuflect (except A CR A) on MC’s cue, then turn and exit in the accustomed order, in silence and with great solemnity, the short way via the north door.

Cleanup is per usual; someone should remember to move the “ash table” back to its place near the Lady Chapel.

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Liturgical Customary