Like most parochial clergy, I have ministries to some of the special care homes within the parish. Today I presided at two eucharists in two different care homes. And since most of the participants would not have had the opportunity to participate in the traditional Ash Wednesday rite, we played a little fast and loose with the calendar and observed . . . Ash Thursday, for lack of a better word.
I'm quite accustomed to manipulating the sanctoral calendar for our parish midweek eucharist. If there is a holy day or saint's day on the day of the service, we will observe it. But if it happens to be a ferial day (ie, if there is no holy day or saint's day), I'll routinely shift a saint from elsewhere in the week. I'm perfectly comfortable with doing so because the midweek services are the only opportunity most folk in the pews will have to learn about those exemplary Christians.
I have to confess, mucking about with Ash Wednesday felt a trifle odder than observing St. Tarcisus of the Holy Eucharist on Wednesday instead of Monday. But even so, I'm convinced it was the right thing to do. Beginning Lent with ashes has important ritual and teaching value. What is a ripple in the space-time continuum next to the opportunity to help people to focus on keeping a holy Lent?