Ash N Dash: Whitehall church offering drive-through Ash Wednesday service

Peter Castro
February 14, 2018

"Priests would apply the ashes to a person's forehead while saying: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return".

Believers across the country will face a unique struggle on Wednesday, which is both a secular holiday (Valentine's Day) and a religious one (Ash Wednesday), according to The New York Times.

Humans have restraints of death, weakness and sins. "So called because on that day at church the faithful have their foreheads marked with ashes in the shape of a cross", Archbishop Loy Chong said.

The ashes represent two Biblical themes.

Many church services are slated throughout the day on Wednesday as congregants enter into a time of atonement and self-denial during the 40-day Lenten season. "Our evening Ash Wednesday worship is usually lightly attended, but previous year we had about 10 first time visitors who came because they had heard of Glitter+Ash".

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In the Kansas City Kansas Archdiocese, married couples were invited to join in an annual World Marriage Day celebration a few days before Valentine's Day - even if they might not be able to have that steak dinner with wine and desserts on Wednesday. They are looking forward to the day of hearts.

Valentine's Day, on the other hand, is the day when giving chocolates, as well as flowers or cards, to a loved one is a traditional sign of love. During Lent, Christians are asked to consider "how we're doing in our walk with God", in the words of Life Teen. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. During the weekends when friends were preoccupied with spouses, kids or boyfriends, I would occasionally take myself to Westminster Cathedral for some spiritual pampering.

While they know and understand not everyone will visit with them to start the season, Brydon said it's a reminder that this year's February 14 is more than Valentine's Day, and it brings forward the meaning of Ash Wednesday, that everyone is mortal.

It's Ash Wednesday and also St. Valentine's Day.

Hrydziuszko says the custom of using ashes as a symbol of repentance dates back to the Bible's Old Testament. Just in case any heathens are formulating jokes about that coincidence, I feel I should note that when the women told the apostles that Jesus' tomb was empty, and Peter and John started running there to check it out, Mary Magdalene did not run after them shouting, "April Fools!" The ashes symbolize the fleeting nature of life, as referenced in Ecclesiastes 3:20, "all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again".

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