Priests Are Celebrating Ash Wednesday With the Cutest #Ashtag Ever

Just wait until Pope Francis sees this.

In celebration of Ash Wednesday, social media-savvy Catholics are posting "#ashtags" — a selfie that puts the day's trademark forehead mark front and center. Ash Wednesday, which derives its name from the practice of making the sign of the cross in ashes made from palm branches, is the beginning of the Catholic season of Lent, a time of fasting and prayer. For Catholic Instagram and Twitter users, however, it's also an occasion to declare their faith to the widest possible audience.

The #ashtag trend, first noticed by Mashable, began last year but has exploded in popularity in 2015. Although most of the pictures were from priests, there were some others joining in the fun, too:

A photo posted by (@) on

Then there are others are conflicted with the #ashtag, like Greg Hillis, an associate professor of theology at Bellarmine University. He tweeted:

And then mocked it: 

Others echoed his sentiment:

Pope Francis probably wouldn't be mad. After all, the pontiff has been encouraging Christians to be more tolerant and open-minded, especially regarding declarations of religious faith (he's also a big fan of the selfie). Our suggestion for the unamused? Fast from getting mad about harmless hashtags for 40 days.

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Jordan Valinsky

Jordan is a writer at the Live News desk. He's previously written for The Week, Betabeat, The Daily Dot and CNN.com.

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