Ash Wednesday done a little differently in Williamsville due to the pandemic


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB)– The Calvary Episcopal Church in Williamsville figured out a way to keep the tradition of Ash Wednesday, all the while limiting exposure to covid-19.

The church usually hosts drive-through ash program, but this year, instead of putting ashes on foreheads, they’re giving people bags of ashes.
It’s a contact-less experience.

“This year due to the pandemic, we’re giving people little bags of ashes for them to do the anointing of ashes at their homes. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to do it the normal way, but not this year. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Robert Harvey, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church

Volunteers not only worked hard filling nearly 500 bags of ashes, they also braved cold temperatures to hand out the ashes, and to collect food donations as well.

“Ash Wednesday is a very very special religious day in our church and to do this even though we’ve made some adjustments is so crucial,” said Rose Marie Cherpak.

Church leaders say, keeping tradition this year is particularly important because of the pandemic.

“This whole year we’ve been reminded of our mortality every day of the year, especially with the astronomical deaths we’ve seen in the world, but at the same time it’s a reminder that God loves us unconditionally and we’re united in that faith,” said Harvey.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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