Some pupils at Kildare school needed First Aid after they received holy ashes on their foreheads for Ash Wednesday

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Some pupils at Kildare school needed First Aid after they received holy ashes on their foreheads for Ash Wednesday
10:36 Thursday 21st of March 2019

A Kildare school has written to parents to apologise after a small number of pupils received burns on their foreheads after being given blessed ashes last week for Ash Wednesday.

The incident happened at the Holy Family Secondary School in Newbridge.
When the ashes were placed on foreheads, some pupils reported feelings of discomfort and pain, the Journal.ie reports.

Well-known and popular Parish Priest Fr Paul Dempsey, who appeared on the Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy in the past, administered the ashes.

 Fr Dempsey also apologised separately to the pupils and their parents and said he would investigate the issue further.

The school has written to parents saying it has “deep regret” for “any distress that has been caused”.

First Aid 

The letter said: “Blessed ashes were distributed to those who wished to receive them in the oratory and a number of students and staff received burns as a result.

"Once we became aware of the problem, we immediately ceased the distribution of the blessed ashes and we administered First Aid."

According to Fr Dempsey, the ashes are produced from the burning of Palm tree branches that are left over after Palm Sunday ceremonies.

 The palm is burned without the use of any accelerant. After the palm is burned, it is put through a sieve to refine it. Is it then stored until Ash Wednesday.

During Mass on Ash Wednesday the ashes are blessed and Holy Water is added to them. They are then placed on the forehead of the recipient. This process has been followed for years and was no different this year, according to Fr Dempsey.

Fr Dempsey also said that no other school where the ashes were administered reported an adverse reaction.

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