Should You Wipe Your Ashes Off? (The Patrick Madrid Show)

When you go to receive your ashes, you may wonder if you’re supposed to leave them on your forehead all day. Others may see you and wonder what they are, or they may make a comment about them.

So, what should you do as a Catholic? It turns out, there is some freedom involved.

Patrick Madrid discusses two schools of thought on this, first.

  1. Some view wearing ashes throughout the day as a public witness to one’s Christian faith, similar to wearing a cross lapel pin. They see it as a positive expression of belief in Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
  2. Others interpret a passage from Matthew 6 about fasting, suggesting that wearing ashes might be considered ostentatious or seeking attention, which goes against the spirit of humility in fasting.

Patrick says that both options are just fine, as the Church imposes no requirement regarding the wearing of ashes. In other words, there’s no official rule on this.

He leans towards wearing ashes throughout the day but acknowledges that some may prefer to wash them off to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Ultimately, he emphasizes your freedom to choose either approach based on what you feel convicted to do. He also says that in today’s secular society, there’s never been a better time to display your faith boldly.

If you choose to leave them on all day, don’t be ashamed! It’s a great way to evangelize!

Jake Moore serves as a Digital Audio Content Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is passionate about classic movies, Christian music, young adult ministry, and leading this generation to Christ through compelling media. You can listen to more of his podcasts at and on the Relevant Radio® app.