Pittsburgh churches

Pandemic forces Catholic churches to change Ash Wednesday services

Precautions against the Covid-19 pandemic prompted Catholic parishes in the region to change procedures for Ash Wednesday.

The Diocese of Greensburg has announced that celebrants in its churches in Westmoreland, Armstrong, Fayette and Indiana counties will eliminate direct contact with parishioners during services, to protect the health of those in attendance.

Similar changes will be made across the Pittsburgh Diocese, according to a Pittsburgh Catholic article.

As directed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Ash Wednesday, Masses in the two dioceses in the region will involve celebrants sprinkling ashes on the heads of parishioners instead of placing ashes in the sign of a cross on the forehead of each believer.

“This method of receiving ashes is common in other countries,” said Father Tom Kunz, assistant secretary general and vicar for canonical services in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

“Our parishioners will always receive these blessings and will always be able to participate in these solemn days, but the extenuating circumstances of our time oblige us to adapt this year,” said Archbishop Larry J. Kulick of the Diocese of Greensburg.

Kulick will celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at 11:45 am at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Greensburg. The service will be broadcast live on dioceseofgreensburg.org and on the diocese’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Parishioners can find overtime Mass on their respective parish websites.

Those attending Masses in the Diocese of Greensburg are required to wear masks and observe social distancing, sitting 6 feet apart.

Visit diopitt.org for more information on Masses in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, including parishes in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties.

Jeff Himler is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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