Before the Mass shall be blessed ashes made of branches
of olive or other trees blessed in the year foregoing; and the
blessing shall be done in this manner.
¶ The Office being said, the Priest, wearing a violet Cope,
or without a chasuble (the Ministers being vested in like manner),
shall go to bless the ashes, which shall be set in a vessel on
the Altar. And first the Choir shall sing the Antiphon following.
Hear me, O Lord, for thy loving kindness is comfortable: turn
thee unto me according to the multitude of thy mercies. Ps. ibid. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in even
unto my soul.
V. Glory be. Then shall be repeated the Antiphon Hear me.
Then the Priest, standing at Epistle corner without turning
to the People, and with hands joined (which shall be observed
in like manner in the prayers appointed for all blessings) shall
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, we beseech thee to spare them that
are penitent, and to be favourable to them that call upon thee.
Vouchsafe, we pray thee, to send thy holy Angel from heaven to
bless and sanctify
these ashes, that they may be a wholesome medicine to all them
that humbly call upon thy holy Name, who in their consciences
by sin are accused, who in the sight of thy heavenly mercy bewail
their sins, and earnestly and meekly implore thy gracious loving
kindness. And we beseech thee to grant to all them that call
upon thy holy Name, that being sprinkled with these ashes for
the remission of their sins, they may be preserved evermore both
in body and soul. through Christ our Lord.
Let us pray.
O God, who wouldest not the death of a sinner, but rather that
he should turn from his wickedness and live: we beseech thee
to have compassion on the frailty of our mortal nature, and of
thy goodness to bless
these ashes now to be set upon our heads for a token of humility
and for the remission of our sins: that we, acknowledging ourselves
to be but dust and ashes, and that by reason of our vileness
we must return unto the same, may of thy mercy be found worthy
to obtain the pardon of our offences and the reward that thou
dost promise to them that are penitent. Through Christ our Lord.
Let us pray.
O God, who turnest unto them that abase themselves and art favourable
unto them that offer atonement: incline thy merciful ear unto
our prayers; and of thy pity pour forth upon the heads of thy
servants now sprinkled with these ashes the grace of thy heavenly
benediction: that they being filled with the spirit of true repentance
may effectually obtain those things that they have asked according
to thy will. And we beseech thee to ordain that we, being stablished
in these thy blessings, may cleave unto the same to life everlasting.
Through Christ our Lord.
Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, who upon the people of Nineveh,
repenting in dust and ashes, didst bestow the healing of thy
loving-kindness: mercifully grant, that we, who now do imitate
them in outward fashion, may be made like unto them in the obtaining
of thy pardon. Through.
¶ Then shall the Priest, setting incense in the censer,
sprinkle the ashes thrice with holy water, saying the Antiphon
Thou shalt purge, without singing and not saying the Psalm;
and he shall cense them thrice.
Thereafter the first of the Priests that are present shall draw
near to the Altar and set ashes on the head of the Celebrant,
who shall not genuflect. But if none be present, the Celebrant
himself, kneeling afore the Altar, shall set ashes on his own
head, saying nothing. And forthwith the Choir shall sing the
Joel 2. Let us change our raiment for sackcloth and ashes:
let us fast and mourn before the Lord: for our God is merciful
to forgive us our sins.
Another Antiphon. Ibid. Let the priests, the ministers
of the Lord, weep between the porch and the Altar, and let them
say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people, and shut not up, O lord,
the mouths of them that praise thee.
Then shall follow this Respond.
Esther 13. Joel 2. Let us amend the sins that in our
ignorance we have committed: lest the day of death come upon
us suddenly, and we find no place for repentance though we seek
it. *Hear, Lord, and have mercy, for we have sinned against thee.
V. Ps. 79. Help us, O God of our salvation; for the glory
of thy Name deliver us, O Lord. Hear, Lord.
V. Glory be. Hear, Lord.
¶ And the Priest, while the Antiphon and Respond are
in singing, with his head uncovered, shall first set ashes on
the head of the first of the Priests from whom he received them,
and then upon the Ministers being vested and kneeling afore the
Altar. And he shall say:
Genesis 3. Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and unto
dust shalt thou return.
¶ Then shall the rest draw near, first the Bishops, Priests
and Deacons, according to their order, and after that the People;
and all meekly kneeling before the Altar, shall receive the ashes
from the Priest after the manner appointed for the Ministers.
And when all the ashes have been delivered, the Priest shall
V. The Lord be with you. R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that we, who now with prayer
and fasting do put upon us the armour of our Christian warfare,
being defended by the power of abstinence, may fight manfully
against all spiritual wickedness. Through Christ our Lord. R.