Ash Wednesday – 1998 Roman Missal Prayers

“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart….”  (Joel 2:12)

Alternative Opening Prayer

Gracious and merciful God,

You look with love upon a sinful people and desire only their return to you.

We beg of you the grace to live this holy season,

to persevere in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

By the disciple of Lent

purify our hearts of all pretension,

bring us back to you,

and make the whole Church ready

to celebrate the mysteries of Easter.

Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

holy and mighty God for ever and ever.

Blessing of ashes

Lord God,

You are moved by humility

and grant pardon to those who repent.

Listen to our prayers

And pour out + your blessing

on those who are marked by these ashes,

that, observing the season of Lent,

they may come with hearts made clean

to celebrate the paschal mystery of your Son.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.