EL PASO, Texas – The Catholic Diocese of El Paso will remain at 25 percent capacity for mass on Ash Wednesday, which is this Wednesday.
The Diocese made the announcement in a statement issued Monday night.
Ash Wednesday is the official start of Lent leading up to Easter, and the Diocese said it will remain in Phase 3 of its protocols for the pandemic.
In Phase 3, churches are allowed to have mass at 25 percent capacity for weekday and weekend services, for baptisms and prayer during the day.
In addition, the Diocese, in accordance with directives from the Vatican, will change the way that ashes are distributed.
The priest will address congregants as a group and give the formula for ashes, saying either “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.”
The priest will make that statement to the group, instead of to each person.
The priest will then put on a facemask and distribute ashes to those who want them, without saying anything.
The Diocese urges people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly to remain home and continue to worship online.