PORTLAND — To mark the beginning of the Lenten season, Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. The Mass will also be available via livestream at portlanddiocese.org/online-mass.

Listings of Ash Wednesday Masses scheduled for Catholic churches in Maine are available on the Diocese of Portland’s website. To search by city or town, visit portlanddiocese.org/ashwednesday. To search by parish, visit portlanddiocese.org/ash-wednesday-masses-parishes. Listings of ash distribution outside of Masses are also included.

Due to the pandemic, the method of imposition will be modified for this year to avoid physical contact. As each person approaches, the priest or minister distributing ashes will take a pinch of ashes between the thumb and forefinger. While rubbing the thumb and forefinger together, the minister will sprinkle the ashes over the crown of the head in the shape of a cross. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts.

A special Lenten section has been created on the Diocese of Portland’s website featuring Mass times; parish, prayer and retreat opportunities; a “Saints of Lent” section; Scripture reflections; Holy Week details and information; and ways to share gifts. To visit the site, which will be updated continually before and during Lent, visit portlanddiocese.org/lent-resources.

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