Today marks the start of the Christian holy season of Lent, and one area church is providing ashes on the go.
Many parishioners usually head inside their local church to receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their forehead.
But Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church has decided to do something a little different to meet the needs of their on-the-go members: a drive thru Ash Wednesday service.
“We started Ashes-to-Go because we just realized there was a need. People work. We don’t live in a place where life stops on church holidays. We also realized the reality is that in spite of what is said, most people don’t go to church. Ash Wednesday is an invitation back into a relationship with God, and the Church. It’s a restart. Lent was a time when people were restored to the faith. You can’t do that if the only people you are restoring are the people that would come anyways,” said Saint Bartholomew’s Very Reverend Sean Maloney.
This is the seventh year St. Bartholomew is offering ashes to go in addition to their traditional services.
“We started in 2010 and moved to doing it on site with the drive thru format in 2011. The response has been extremely positive. People are thankful for the chance to engage their faith and ask questions. They are thankful for the chance to receive ashes when they might not have had a chance. You always get a few people that will throw shade. That it’s lazy. That people should go to church. That this isn’t the way we have done it. That’s also what they said to Jesus so we are happy to be in good company,” said Maloney.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics, which lasts for 40 days and takes place six weeks before Easter.
“The thing we want people to realize is that they are welcomed. We want people to hear that they are loved. We want people to know that the Church isn’t the building, that it’s all of God’s people. This Lent He is inviting us all back to a relationship with each other and with Jesus,” said Maloney.