"Almighty and eternal God,
you have mercy on all and hate nothing you have made.
You overlook the sins of those who do penance and are weighed down by sin.
Bless + and sanctify those who receive these ashes.
Like the Ninevites, we will bear these ashes on our foreheads as a sign of our repentance and of our desire for forgiveness.
May we who call upon your name today receive pardon for our sins.
May our observance of this season, which we begin by our fast today, purify our hearts to celebrate the resurrection at the coming feast of Easter and to enjoy everlasting glory in the life to come.
We ask this through Christ our Lord."
– Prayer of Blessing of the Ashes on Ash Wednesday from the Dominican Missal.
The Holy Father preached on the symbol of ashes today, and its theological significance in his homily at the Dominican church of Santa Sabina.