Get ‘ashes to go’ for Ash Wednesday without even getting out of your car
LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - Today is Ash Wednesday which signals the start of Lent, a time when Christians mark the 40 days leading up to Easter.
Special masses and services will take place in churches across the country, with the faithful receiving an ash cross on their forehead. Those ashes represent death and repentance throughout the Lenten season.
For Christians with limited time, one Coast church is offering “ashes on the go,” giving people the chance to receive ashes without ever leaving their vehicles. It’s a tradition that is now in its seventh year.
Pastor Dave Parr with Grace Lutheran Church says clergy will be out at the Jim Simpson Senior Memorial Fishing Pier, located at 106 Beach Blvd. in Long Beach, until 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Numerous Ash Wednesday services are also taking place at churches across South Mississippi today.
Ash Wednesday marks the onset of the Lent, the 40-day period of fasting and abstinence. It is also known as the ‘Day of Ashes’. So called because on that day at church the faithful have their foreheads marked with ashes in the shape of a cross.
Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.
Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. Even non-Christians and the excommunicated are welcome to receive the ashes. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s palm Sunday Mass.
It is not required that a person wear the ashes for the rest of the day, and they may be washed off after Mass. However, many people keep the ashes as a reminder until the evening.
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