BTW - Lent began for us today, Ash Monday. Mass is at 7pm with distribution of ashes (he makes his own and mixes them with holy water), painted on the forehead (as in the following news photos). The entire parish will be there tonight, even the infants, with large black +s on their foreheads.
The First Week of Lent
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:7
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: "In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We cause no one to stumble in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry; on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance, in afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, in a holy spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech, in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left. Praise be to God always.
"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. This is the Truth. Peace be with you.
That's nice to hear.
Well I have my own type of "lent", I'm not held down by rituals - which are okay for the most part.
Ironically the phrase hocus pocus comes from the Latin "Hoc est Corpus meum".
BTW, in your picture what is the priest using to apply the ashes? I have always seen it done with the priest's thumb.