Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the 12:05 p.m. Mass for Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

The Mass will be livestreamed here and on the archbishop’s Facebook page.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent for Christians throughout the world. Lent is a 40-day period of penitence, prayer, fasting and almsgiving from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday in preparation for the celebration of Easter.

Blessed ashes will be distributed to the faithful at all the Masses at the cathedral — including 7:15 a.m. (chapel), 12:35 p.m. (chapel) and 5:15 p.m. (basilica) — and in all the parishes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, reminding them to repent and believe in the Gospel as the Lenten season begins.


Pandemic restrictions permitting, liturgies of the Word of God with distribution of ashes will be celebrated in nursing facilities in the archdiocese on Ash Wednesday.

The Bishops of the United States prescribe that all Catholic persons who are 14 years of age and older should abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent. All persons 18 years of age and older, up to and including their 59th birthday, are bound to fast by limiting themselves to a single full meal on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday, while the other two meals on those days are to be light.

The Cathedral Parish will offer the sacrament of penance and reconciliation on weekdays at 11:30 a.m. (Basilica), Saturdays at 4:15 p.m. (Basilica) and Sundays at 9 a.m. (Basilica), 12 noon in Spanish (Chapel) and 5:30 p.m. (Basilica).

Parishes throughout the Archdiocese may have additional or alternative dates and times for this sacrament in addition to scheduled times. See a directory of parishes in the archdiocese to contact a church near you.