Faith and Prayer

Why Do Catholics Put Ashes On Our Heads On Ash Wednesday?

“Excuse me, you’ve got some dirt on your head.”

Ash Wednesday is just around the corner and every year someone says that to me on Ash Wednesday. Maybe it has happened to you too. In the past it used to frustrate me, but in recent years I have come to see it as a great opportunity to evangelize, to share with someone about the most important person in my life: Jesus Christ.

So, what do you say when folks ask you about that smudge on your forehead?

Here are a few responses that I would not recommend:

The Ignorant Response

‘I have to church and get them. I have no idea what they mean.’

The Sarcastic Response

‘I’m protesting showers. Today, ashes; tomorrow I’m going to swim in raw sewage.’

The Ridiculous Response

‘I have a big zit that I’m trying to cover up. Is it working?’

The Practical (but Misguided) Response

‘Better dirty on the outside of my head…

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About the Author

Mark Hart

It is very difficult to walk away from a conversation with Mark Hart without a smile on your face. Mark has a genuinely joyful soul and is the creative mind behind a countless number of Life Teen resources. A twenty year veteran of youth ministry, Mark has served Life Teen since most of the staff was still in Elementary School, and currently serves as our Executive Vice President. When he’s not laughing, Mark can rarely get through a conversation without mentioning how amazing and beautiful his wife Melanie is or how his four children are the coolest kids you’ll ever meet. Oh… and he’s also an internationally known speaker and best-selling author, but, you know, that’s just how he spends his “free time.”