Monday, February 19, 2018


This last week there were a couple of priests visiting at St. Sebastian and we started talking about our techniques for distributing ashes.  You may think that it's just sticking your thumb in some burned palms and smearing them on a person's forehead - but for practiced ash distributors, there is a developed method.  From that night's discussion, this seems to be the most common:
Ashes, as it is well known, are made from the previous year's blessed palm branches.  Did you know you that a parish can buy these from a religious goods distributor instead of making their own?  I don't know WHAT they do to them, but like wine, the store bought brand is always better than the home made.  They stick better, have better consistency, last longer . . . How do they do it?  Homemade always seem to be just a little chunkier no matter what and you really have to grind them in to get them to stick!  (Sorry St. Sebastianites.)

So, as you well know, this day is a very solemn and dignified celebration requiring the utmost gravitas.  The dangerous mix of homemade ashes, an emotionally charged atmosphere and communal expectation makes occurrences that would otherwise not be humorous in the least outrageously hilarious.   Such as this:
I think after almost 20 years of doing this, I have FINALLY grown rather immune to this occurrence. But not all priests.  The way to determine if the person in front of you had a pile of ashes collect on their nose is to look into the face of a young priest and check for these signs:

1 comment:

Louis said...

I remember when your classmate, Fr. G. David Bline, left a cross on my so large, that some mistook it for some sort of landing zone. So now do that to unwitting folks in Parma. This year, I saw someone I gave an extra large cross to, and there were still ashes visibly smeared on his forehead the following Sunday. He accused me of dipping it in a Sharpie and then grinding them in. Who says there's no joy in penance?