Hymns for Ash Wednesday (Years A, B and C)

Priest applying ashes on Ash Wednesday, songs suggestions  below
A selection of hymns and songs based on themes from the Roman Catholic lectionary for Ash Wednesday, in years A, B and C.

Most are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free) meaning the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing sometimes in a limited setting.   Many such hymns are old/traditional - but where possible a variety of styles / genres are included.

A small selection of particularly appropriate hymns that are still copyright may also be included.

Many  hymns for Lent are also suitable for Ash Wednesday.


First: Joel 2:12-18 - Turn to the Lord your God again ... God is tenderness and compassion ... Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly

Psalm 50 - Have mercy on us Lord, for we have sinned / My offences truly I know them / a pure heart create for me O God /  Give me again the joy of your help.

Second: II Paul 5:20 - 6:2 - Be reconciled to God ... this is the acceptable time, this is the day of salvation.

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 - When you give alms, when you pray, when you fast - do it in private.


Acknowledge and return to God, Repentance, God's mercy and compassion,

Free-use hymns

All who would Valiant Be

Attende Domine

Be Thou my Vision

Be With me Lord Where-e'r I Go

Come Let us to the Lord our God

Come You Sinner Poor and Needy

Da Pacem Domine

Father Hear the Prayer we Offer

From the Depths we Cry to Thee

God of Mercy and Compassion

Have Mercy, Lord, on Us

Jesu Lover of my Soul

Lord Jesus Think on Me

Lord who Through all these Forty Days

O for a Heart to Praise my God

Parce Domine

Somebody's Knocking at your Door

Take up Your Cross

Hymns that may be copyright

Again we Keep this Solemn Fast - Scagnelli 

Ashes to Ashes - Schutte (ref)

Change our Hearts - Cooney

Dust and Ashes Touch our Face - Wren (ref)

Hear us, Almighty Lord (ATTENDE DOMINE) - Wright

Leave the Past in Ashes - Consiglio

Nada de Turde / Nothing Can Trouble - Taizé

Remember you are Dust - Tate (ref)

Return to God - Haugen

Sign us with Ashes - Bringle

Signed by Ashes  - Keil / Quinlivan (ref)

To the Desert Jesus Came - Good

Ubi Caritas - Taizé

Where Charity and Love Prevail - Westendorf

With These Ashes · Hochman and Chiusano 

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