Your New & Improved Comprehensive Guide to Ash Wednesday Ashes

Bill Donaghy, Senior Lecturer, Theology of the Body Institute

Have you received your Ash Wednesday ashes yet?

In 2017, ChurchPOP shared a now-viral infographic entitled, “A Catholic Guide to Ashes,” which hilariously describes various ways Ash Wednesday ashes appear on foreheads after receiving them.

Bill Donaghy, a senior lecturer and content specialist for the Theology of the Body Institute, designed the graphic. He explained why he created it, and sent us an updated version.

“I’m flattered once again that this thing still makes the rounds every Ash Wednesday! Here is the definitive edition, which has a few updates since the ones I’ve done previously. There’s even a shout out to the Marvel cinematic universe! Bottom right hand is Thanos,” Donaghy said.

“I first thought of the idea a few years ago,” he added “I think it honestly came to me sitting in church, and the different concepts flowed rather freely.”

Donaghy then explained why he believes humor is an important aspect of everyday life, especially within the faith.

“I think in the history of the Church there are a number of saints who have a great sense of humor: St. Philip Neri shaving off half of his beard just for laughs, St. Francis of Assisi dancing around with a couple of sticks as if he’s playing the violin when his fellow friars were cold and ‘hangry,’ and Bishop Fulton Sheen saying that hearing nuns confessions was like ‘being stoned to death with popcorn.’

“Humor is the ability to see through things, even the darkest or most somber of things, to realize that there’s a God of love and joy behind it all, Donaghy reiterated.

“The Catholic Guide to Ashes is a tribute to this unseen joy that awaits us, even as we ‘celebrate’ a penitential season like Lent. In the end, we believe ‘all shall be well.’ for there’s a God of joy and wild imagination Who can’t wait to welcome us home!”

Here’s the updated guide below:

Bill Donaghy, Senior Lecturer, Theology of the Body Institute

Which ash is yours?

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[See also: Ashes Explained: Facts About Ash Wednesday Every Catholic Should Know]

[See also: Feast & Fast: The Biblical Significance of Shrove Tuesday & Ash Wednesday Traditions]

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Jacqueline Burkepile is the editor for the English edition of ChurchPOP. She is a journalist, former university campus minister, and a wife and mother. You can follow her posts on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.



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