The Solemn Liturgy of Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday begins the holy season of Lent, a 40-day period (excluding Sundays) extending through Holy Week as we approach Easter. The imposition of ashes occurs at all three liturgies of the day -- 8am, 12:10pm and 5:30pm -- as well as throughout the day in between these services. Simply enter the Fifth Avenue doors and walk down the center aisle toward the high altar. You might find these sermons about Ash Wednesday and these sermons about Lent helpful as you prepare your heart and mind for this holy season.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

5:30 PM


Service Details: The choir and priests process in silence to begin this Liturgy. After the choir sings the Introit and the Rector says the Collect of the Day, the Liturgy of the Word proceeds with the reading of lessons, the singing of the Psalm and a Hymn, and a Sermon by Fr Austin.

Then, the Rector invites us to an Observance of a Holy Lent and then blesses the ashes. As the choir sings the Miserere, the congregation comes forward to receive ashes on their foreheads, as the priest reminds each person that “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

After ashes have been imposed, together we confess our sins and share the peace.

The priests then walk up from the chancel to the High Altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, which proceeds like most Choral Eucharists at Saint Thomas. All baptized Christians are invited to come to the altar rail and receive the sacrament to begin this most holy of seasons.

If you arrive at the church after the imposition of ashes has already occurred, a priest will be in the narthex (near the Fifth Avenue doors) to impose ashes even as the rest of the service continues. Therefore, you may receive ashes and then come inside to the nave for the remainder of the service if you choose.

Lesson: Joel 2:1-2,12-17
Epistle: II Corinthians 5:20b—6:10
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6,16-21