On the table are placed the chalice prepared for mass, with violet veil and burse, a violet chasuble and maniple, a censer and incense boat, the holy water and aspersory, the requisites for washing and wiping the celebrant's hands, including bread crumbs, and the cruets and finger-towel.
The altar has a violet antependium, and the veil of the tabernacle should be of the same color. The missal is placed on its stand as usual, at the epistle corner, and beside it on the table of the altar is a little dish or plate, made of silver, or of some other becoming material, containing the ashes of palms, blessed the preceding Palm Sunday. These ashes should be carefully ground, and should be used dry, and not as they are often used, in a pasty state. Until the beginning of the ceremonies the dish containing the ashes is covered either with its own proper cover or with a violet veil.
In the sacristy are laid out the vestments for the celebrant and the servers. For the celebrant the vestments are amice, alb, cincture, violet stole and cope; but if there is no violet cope, the stole alone will suffice. For the servers there are soutanes and surplices.
THE BLESSING AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE ASHES.
The celebrant in blessing the ashes observes the directions given for blessing the candles on the Feast of the Purification. Having vested, therefore, in amice, alb, cincture, and violet stole, and, if convenient, in cope also of the same color, he goes to the altar. At the foot of the altar he genuflects, or inclines profoundly, and goes up to the altar. He kisses the altar, and goes directly to the missal, and reads aloud the antiphon, as given in the missal. And, still standing in the same place, and without disjoining his hands or bowing, he says in the same loud tone, Dominus vobiscum, and Oremus, and recites the prayers. Before each prayer the celebrant says Oremus, but without any ceremony of any kind. Having recited the fourth prayer, he puts incense into the censer, and blesses it as usual, and then sprinkles and incenses the ashes. He may at this stage, if it is customary, give an instruction to the people on the ceremonies of this day.
After the instruction, or immediately after the incensing, when there is no instruction, the celebrant goes to the center of the altar, and, kneeling with his face to the altar, he takes the ashes, and makes the sign of the cross on his own forehead. He then returns to the missal, and reads the antiphons, unless there is a choir to sing them, in which case the celebrant omits them altogether, and proceeds with the distribution of the ashes. In distributing the ashes he begins at the epistle corner, and while putting them on the head of each one he says in Latin, "Remember that thou art but dust and unto dust thou shalt return." Having finished the distribution, he washes his hands at the epistle corner, then returns to the missal by the front of the altar, recites the prayer Concede, after which he bows to the cross, and goes to vest for mass.
The servers meanwhile prepare the censer, and during the fourth and last prayers takes the holy water and aspersory, and approach the steps on the epistle side, and assist at the sprinkling and incensing of the ashes.
- Manual of the Holy Catholic Church, Imprimatur 1906 -