Bringing Ash Wednesday To The People
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In a world that's in a hurry, you can get just about anything on the fly.
"Hi, Good morning. How are you? Ready for Lent?" asked Rev. Patricia Cashman, Episcopal Church of the Ascension.
And as Ash Wednesday would prove, even faith can be packaged to go.
"It's called Ash Wednesday to go. Ashes to go."
Cashman heard a few years ago they were doing it in Chicago. She bought it, to Rochester.
"Good morning. Lent is starting. Would you like to get some ashes?"
She was sure that Jesus, on this holy day, would approve.
"People don't really have time to go to a church building, so we decided to go to the people," Cashman said.
Anybody who would like to get their reminder of new life and the spring that comes after death, they can get that reminder right here."
"I think it's very very unexpected and good for people who cannot go to church, or forgot, or have no transportation, or it's too cold," said Harry Jalil.
"We're getting people coming by, waving, honking," said Mary Ann Brody, St. Stevens Episcopal. "Some people just wondering what we're doing here."
Sure, they get some funny looks, and what they're doing is a curiosity.
Albeit one with a purpose.
"That's terrific. So many people can't make it to mass. It's a wonderful way to administer ashes," said Wayne Brockler, Rochester.
A much, much, higher, purpose.
"I think it's just a recognition of how much our world has changed, and we're adapting to it," Cashman said.
shes to Go is part of a nationwide movement to take Ash Wednesday out of the church and out into the streets; for good reason, say clergy.
"God is in the world and the community, so that's where we should be too," Brody said.
Part of me thought this is church dumbed down, or church on the go, or grace that's cheap. I finally came to the realization that God is never cheap."
Certainly doesn't appear to be the case, judging by the reaction.
Not that it really matters. The times – even for religion – are changing.
"We're on a mission, as some lady said, and we're glad about that. It's a good mission," Cashman said.
"God bless ya."
"Have a happy, holy Lent."