LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, which is a six-week period of reflection and fasting for Christians and happens to be one of the busiest days of the year for people attending Mass.
Last month, Bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas, George Thomas, extended a dispensation from obligation to attend Masses and holy days of obligation, including Easter due to the pandemic. The dispensation is in effect until April 4, 2021 but doesn’t include Ash Wednesday because it isn’t a holy day of obligation.
Greg Gordon, the monsignor for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas said they will do Ash Wednesday differently this year in the U.S. The church received word from Rome that ashes will be sprinkled above a person’s head instead of traced in the form of a cross on their forehead.
“There’s no physical touch or contact,” Monsignor Gordon said. “But it’s only for this year and the pandemic.”
He said local churches are also abiding by state COVID-19 restrictions involving capacity limitations and physical distancing.
Many local Catholic churches are live streaming their Masses for those who can’t attend in person. You can find more details at this link.