Ebene News – US – Churches around Chicago celebrate Ash Wednesday with COVID-19 safety precautions: “It’s strange”

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This year’s Christian celebration of the start of Lent was in stark contrast to its usual crowd, with fewer masked parishioners visiting churches to receive ashes in person or pick up ‘Lent kits’ to celebrate the season at home

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To start the Lent season, the city’s congregations came up with creative solutions for organizing Mass, distributing the imposition of ashes and maintaining a safe sense of community

At Old St Patrick’s Church, 700 W Adams Street, visitors were greeted Wednesday with hand sanitizer stations, face shields, Lenten treat bags, and ash-black cotton swabs

“It was just very weird to give ashes through a Q-tip,” said Rev Tom Hurley of Old St Patrick’s Church “It’s strange to have Ash Wednesday, but there is not as crowded as normal “

Lori Hiltz, a Streeterville resident who has attended mass at church for 11 years, said that despite the pandemic, she thinks it is still important to observe Ash Wednesday

“I wanted to honor her today,” Hiltz said “I made a reservation and felt like I won the lottery to get in and come to church”

Due to capacity limits in person, those who wanted to attend Ash Wednesday Mass at Old St Patrick pre-registered for a place Before entering, visitors had to sanitize their hands and perform a temperature check, and during the imposition of ashes, the pastor used a new cotton swab for each parishioner

Laura Higgins, who is part of the church’s music team and the pastoral care team, said this year that instead of laying ashes on hundreds and sending teams of people at train stations as it normally does, the church has made over 1,500 “Lent kits” for people to celebrate at home in addition to attending virtual church services

Each Lent kit includes a small votive candle, self-imposed ashes during live broadcast services, a Lent prayer card and a small sticker with an ash cross to represent the day that marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn 40- day period dedicated to reflection, prayer and fasting before Easter

Joseph Roccasalva, the parish liturgical coordinator, said the pandemic actually offered the “perfect opportunity” for holidays like Ash Wednesday

“Ash Wednesday is the time to look and see what happened, this pandemic has really allowed us to look at what we have done in our lives How can we do better and how can we pray better, ”Roccasalva mentioned

Director of Ministries Keara Ette said that while many things have been removed and it is easy for privileged people to see themselves as victims, it is important to remember what the essentials are and the opportunities for love and justice that still exist

“It’s heartbreaking to say that we can’t have more than 50 people, or that we can’t all be in one place,” Ette said “But the concept of the common good is deeply rooted in our tradition. “

West Loop resident and regular devotee Michelle Orlando said she was grateful to have had the opportunity to come in person, even though this Ash Wednesday was “definitely a different vibe” from mass generally. filled with church

“For Catholics this is a very important time of year to kick off Lent,” said Orlando “The fact that [Old St Patrick’s] makes it available to people for such an unconventional year shows how determined they are to help Catholics in the region celebrate the day “

West Loop resident and Rush University medical student Marissa Pharel said she spent with her roommate to retire from her life during the pandemic and focus on religion and relationships

“This is probably the fastest I’ve been in and out of a church in my life,” Pharel said “So very different, but it’s great to at least have the opportunity to to see it, to feel it, to [have] a certain sense of normalcy “

Hurley said the pandemic has enabled the church to interact with believers around the world through its 10 am livestreams, which typically get between 3,000 and 4,000 views

Pastor Amity Carrubba of Grace Place Episcopal Church, located at 637 S Dearborn St, said Ash Wednesday was the first time worshipers could enter the church building and shrine since the beginning of the pandemic

Carrubba said those inflicting ashes wear double masks, wear face shields and sanitize their hands before each person She said the church has also distributed its own bags for Christian holy days that include dedicated fellowship hosts, so worshipers can share fellowship around Zoom and Lent materials.

Carrubba said there were both unexpected joys and challenges with online worship, and the pandemic has restored the foundations of faith and what it means to be a community

“Many people have said that keeping traditions has created a structure for their lives, which has been helpful in daily and weekly routines,” said Carrubba “Religious traditions keep us grounded in our sanity and grounded in God “

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The man was punched in the abdomen and taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition

What is Ash Wednesday

Ebene News – United States – Churches around Chicago celebrate Ash Wednesday with safety precautions against COVID- 19: “It’s strange”

Source: https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/2/17/22288016/chicago-churches-ash-wednesday-lent-covid-19-safety-precautions