What’s That on Your Forehead? – My Popular Ash Wednesday Post

File:Aschenkreuz.jpgHere’s a popular Ash Wednesday post of mine called, “What’s that on Your Forehead?”


Q:  Hey, your forehead’s dirty. What’s that on your forehead?

A:  Ashes…they’re from church.

Q:  Why did your church put dirt on your forehead?

A:  It’s not dirt; they’re ashes. Today’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Catholics wear ashes to show that we want to change to get ready for Easter.

Q:  Are they supposed to be in a shape or something? Just looks like a smudge to me.

A:  It’s supposed to be in the shape of a cross – like the one that Jesus died on.

Q:  So you think you’re something  special because you’re wearing ashes on your forehead?

A:  No, just the opposite. It shows that without God, this is all we are – ashes. It’s a way of admitting how much we need God.

Q:  So how’re you gonna change…gonna become all holy on us?

A:  Just trying to become what God wants me to be…a good person.

Q:  I hear you guys give up stuff for Lent too. What for?

A:  Giving up stuff – like snacks or watching TV or swearing – is kinda like exercise – it’s hard work but it makes us stronger.

Q:  So you can’t have any fun for how long?

A:  I can still have fun, I’m just gonna be doing some stuff a little differently for 40 days…that’s how long until Easter.

Q:  Then you can go back to being your old self?

A: No, that’s the point, hopefully I’ll be an even better version of myself!

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. Thank you Joe! I was looking for this so I could share it with my 7th grade religious ed class tonight! They always get a lot out of it!

  2. Joe, you always provide great “fodder” for me to cultivate. Thank you for your great work. I distribute your books to catechists throughout the diocese. Do you have any of these books in Spanish?

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