ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) - Traditional Ash Wednesday services will be taking place all over western New York. But now, a new and quick way to receive ashes is drawing attention, drive-thru ashes.
It's not the tradition Ash Wednesday Service at St. Mark's Episcopal Church parking lot in Orchard Park, Wednesday morning. People were able to roll up in their cars, quickly receive their ashes and be on their way.
Eucharistic Minister Diane Durant said, "We've decided to bring the church to the street. People are sometimes afraid to come into a church on a day like today."
Father Sean Leonard said, "We really wanted to give people an opportunity to be able to stop on their way to work or their way to school to receive ashes."
Father Sean Leonard says they recognize that people are busy, and this way they are able to stop for a moment a connect with God on Ash Wednesday.
"The ashes come from palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday, they are burnt and ground and refined and turned into a black dust and then we use them on Ash Wednesday."
Father Sean says they aren't just there to serve members of their congregation.
"We want to open our doors to anyone and everyone who might be able to make a connection today with God. Whether they are part of a church or are looking for something deeper in their spiritual life."
It's an idea that originated in the Chicago area but has grown to many areas of the country. Western New Yorkers who participated seem to be fond of the new idea.
Derby resident Lisa Vidal said, "I won't have time today with working all day until four, and then with children later on and activities so you have to do what you have to do."
West Seneca resident Brian Harrison said, "This is really great. I have always missed Ash Wednesday service because I tend to work late, and so this is a really great opportunity to come out and show my faith."
Other Ashes to Go sites in Western New York include:
Dunkirk – Outside the doors of St. John's Episcopal Church at 16 West Fourth Street from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.
Harris Hill – Drive through at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 4275 S. Harris Hill Road from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Lockport – Outside the Arnold House at 110 Genesee Street at 3 p.m. sponsored by Grace Episcopal Church.
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