From a reader… actually, more than one…
Question on Ash Wednesday TLM ‘62 Missal; would the Priest be distributing ashes by sprinkling over head or would TLM be exempt and have ashes distributed as in previous years ( Communion Rail on forehead as a cross). Announcements have been made about 2021 ashes however parishes I attend mass at have Novus Oreo and Extraordinary Form.
Sorry, but my psychic powers don’t give me special insight into what will happen where you are.
That said, there was a document from the Congregation for Divine Worship that pertains to the Novus Ordo about the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday. If I recall, it says that the priest can say the form for administration of the ashes once for everyone and then sprinkle them on the heads of the people without saying anything. It did not, however, seem to me that that is the obligatory way to do it. I think it is an option.
It doesn’t concern me that much because I will be saying the Traditional Mass on Ash Wednesday, and that document from the CDW doesn’t pertain. I may, however, say, those of you who want ashes on the forehead, come to the rail on the Epistle side, and those who want them sprinkled go to the Gospel side.
Take note that sprinkling the ashes is how it is done in Rome. It isn’t some strange modernist innovation.
There are different customs in different places for distribution of ashes. In these USA and perhaps elsewhere we have a practice of tracing the cross with ash from the incinerated blessed palms of the year before. In Rome, however, it is the practice to sprinkle ashes on the top of the head. Clerics with tonsures, would have the ashes sprinkled on the shaved tonsure spot.
Hence, there is nothing wrong with using the sprinkling method in these USA. It’s the Roman way to do it, after all. It might be strange for people who are accustomed to the tracing of the cross, but it isn’t a wrong way to do it.
Also, in the traditional Missal, for imposition of ashes the rubric says that the the priest with highest dignity imposes ashes on the celebrant. It doesn’t say how: imponit cineres celebranti. If the priest is alone, without another priest present, he imposes ashes on himself on the head: sibi ipsi cineres imponit in capite. On the head. It doesn’t say how. The Roman way is to sprinkle them. For example, here is Pope Benedict receiving ashes at the Station church, the Basilica of Santa Sabina. The one imposing them is the titular Cardinal of that basilica.
One thing I would add, is that, just as in tracing the cross on the forehead, especially with children, be careful not to use so much ash that it could fall into people’s eyes.
Concerning ashes on chapel veils … I dunno.
And… this is important, Fathers… when someone comes up and by habit sticks her tongue out…. resist!