Thursday March 7th, 2019
MUN (Made Up News), Columbus, OH
Pope Francis once again shocked the world with his announcement that beginning Ash Wednesday 2020 the Catholic Church would begin sprinkling ashes upon the foreheads of the faithful rather than marking them with the sign of the Cross.
A priest close to the Holy Father, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that Pope Francis was "alarmed by the number of Facebook and Instagram ash selfies." The Pontiff reportedly shook his head asking if anyone had even listened to the Gospel.
When asked about the move many of the faithful were in a state of shock. "What's the point of going to Ash Wednesday Mass then?", asked Steve Krewinski, a St. Sylvester parishioner. "I mean, I forgo my lunch hour to get my "ash tag". No one is going to see sprinkled ashes. What sort of selfie will that make?"
Susan Purtano, a St. Lawrence parishioner wasn't as concerned, "someone will just develop an ash app so you can snap a selfie and put the ash cross where you want it. It will probably be better. That way you can control the amount, position, etc." Susan's friend and co-worker, Michelle Clancy thought the ash app was a great idea, "I mean Fr. Bob is the best with ashes. He does it just right. They look good, it's a good cross, not just a smudge, and there's enough ashes to last until the end of work. But Fr. Bob is retiring this summer so the ash app will be great."
Blaine Bilchalk of St. Francis parish was elated by the news. "I think it's fantastic. I mean, do we really need to be contributing to our carbon footprint and pollution by burning all of these palms? Pope Francis is so green, I love it." When asked about the Ash App idea he leapt with joy. "Oh my goodness", he said, "that's the best idea ever. It's so win-win for everyone. They could even incorporate a button so you could donate and have a palm tree planted in Siberia or somewhere where Palm trees are extinct."
Across town at St. Leo's parish the reception of the news was less enthusiastic. Fr. Thomas Dobson said, "I'm a little concerned by this move. Don't get me wrong, I certainly understand the Holy Father's motivation but Ash Wednesday masses are our most attended masses and you know what that means," he said rubbing his fingers together. "Ash Wednesday could really be called Black Wednesday if you catch what I'm saying," he said with a chuckle. "But seriously," he said composing himself, "it's the beginning of Lent so there's that to consider too."
Those inside the Vatican are divided by the Pope's move. Many accused him of making the change just because he always wears white. Msgr. Anontio Alventi, a right-leaning, conservative, traditionalist priest welcomed the move, "I think it helps us refocus our hearts. Ash Wednesday is to be a somber day, a day of humility and reflection. Not a selfie day." When asked about the Ash App he slapped his forehead in disgust accidentally knocking off most of his ashes.
The Ash App (tm) designers could not be reached for comment. However, their website indicates that the Ash App is in beta testing and should be ready for Ash Wednesday 2020. Further investigation revealed other apps that they are working on including:
Almsgiving App(c) (tm) which allows you to take a selfie that gives the impression that you are dropping bills in the collection basket. Paid features include the ability to change the bill denomination and have people in the back ground appear to be in awe of your generosity.
Prayer App (c) (tm) which pops up folded hands with a Cathedral background when you close your eyes. (facial recognition must be turned on) Paid features include random, church approved apparition sites for backgrounds and Gregorian chant.
Fasting App (c) (tm) has millions of Insta-ready images of small, unsavory meals for you to share on Social Media. The app is linked to an enormous database that insures images are never used twice. A paid feature allows you to take a selfie that will make your face appear gaunt and pale from fasting.
Click here for some great Lenten reading suggestions.
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