Ash Wednesday traditions slightly altered due to COVID-19
BATON ROUGE - Due to the pandemic, Catholic churches across Louisiana have changed certain traditions related to the start of Lent.
Typically, the season is initiated with fasting, repentance, and almsgiving. An outward symbol of these actions can be found in the wearing of ashes on the foreheads of worshipers.
The ashes are usually in the form of a crisp cross, a small dot, or a thick smudge on the skin.
But, due to social distancing guidelines necessitated by the pandemic, priests in the Diocese of Baton Rouge will not touch worshiper's foreheads.
Instead, they will sprinkle ashes of their flocks' heads, a practice that is safer but leaves ashes not as visible. This is in harmony with a practice that has been common in parts of Europe.
Though the public health crisis has made certain traditions associated with the season nearly impossible to carry out, new procedures like the aforementioned allow services to continue.
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