Your Comprehensive Guide to Ash Wednesday Ashes

Are you ready for Lent?

Every year, Catholics across the world begin the 40 days of Lent with Ash Wednesday ashes. The ashes signify the need for repentance of sins and is a call to humility before God.

Over the years, ChurchPOP has shared a now-viral infographic entitled, “A Catholic Guide to Ashes,” which hilariously describes various ways in which Ash Wednesday ashes appear on foreheads after Catholics receive them.

Bill Donaghy, a senior lecturer and content specialist for the Theology of the Body Institute, designed the graphic.

Here’s the image:

Bill Donaghy

Donaghy explained why he created the Ash Wednesday infographic and submitted an updated version.

Here’s the newer version:

Bill Donaghy

“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 Catholic faith.

“I think in the history of the Church there are a number of saints who have a great sense of humor: Saint Philip Neri shaving off half of his beard just for laughs, Saint 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,” he said. 

“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!”

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