Ebene News – US – Drive-thru and virtual services mark Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent

Southern California congregations have found creative ways with observing the ashes on Wednesday, February 17, which marks the start of the Lent season, when Christians imitate Jesus’ 40-day fast. Christ in the desert before embarking on his public ministry

San Bernardino residents Jerilynn Roma and her husband Dominic lay ashes tied to a piece of burlap on their foreheads after receiving them on Ash Wednesday from Pastor Rafael Deras at New Beginnings United Methodist Church in San Bernardino Wednesday, February 17, 2021 Church has had to forgo an indoor Ash Wednesday service due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo by Will Lester, Inner Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

New Beginnings United Methodist Church member Bruce Morr sits in his vehicle as he receives his Ash Wednesday ashes in San Bernardino Wednesday, February 17, 2021 The church had to give up an indoor Ash Wednesday service due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo by Will Lester, Inner Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

Rudy Valencia lays ashes on his forehead at New Beginnings United Methodist Church in San Bernardino Wednesday, February 17, 2021 The church has had to forgo an indoor Ash Wednesday service due to the COVID- pandemic 19, instead handing out ashes tied to a piece of burlap (Photo by Will Lester, Inner Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

Rudy Valencia wears ashes on his forehead at New Beginnings United Methodist Church in San Bernardino Wednesday, February 17, 2021 The church has had to forgo an indoor Ash Wednesday service due to the COVID-pandemic 19, and instead distributed ashes tied to a piece of burlap (Photo by Will Lester, Inner Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

Prepared ashes tied to pieces of burlap at New Beginnings United Methodist Church in San Bernardino Wednesday, February 17, 2021 The church had to forgo an interior service on Ash Wednesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic and instead distributed ashes attached to pieces of burlap which visitors then applied to their own foreheads (Photo by Will Lester, Inner Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

Highland resident Joyce Leiffer receives her ashes from Pastor Rafael Deras at New Beginnings United Methodist Church in San Bernardino on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 The church had to forgo an interior Ash Wednesday service due to of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead distributed ashes attached to a piece of burlap for self-application (Photo by Will Lester, Inner Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

San Bernardino residents Jerilynn Roma and her husband Dominic lay ashes tied to a piece of burlap on their foreheads after receiving them on Ash Wednesday from Pastor Rafael Deras at New Beginnings United Methodist Church in San Bernardino Wednesday, February 17, 2021 Church has had to forgo an indoor Ash Wednesday service due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo by Will Lester, Inner Valley Daily Bulletin / SCNG)

Every large religious community has felt the impact of the pandemic over the past 11 months – the coronavirus has disrupted rituals, religious celebrations, festive gatherings and group prayer on Ash Wednesday this year did no exception

The highlight of Ash Wednesday is when the clergy apply sacred ashes, usually the remains of palm leaves burnt during the Palm Sunday celebrations of the previous year, to the foreheads of worshipers in the shape of a cross Lent is a time of fasting, repentance, prayer and charity

But COVID-19 health protocols and fears of the virus spreading have prompted churches to resort to other means of observing the day

Many congregations have organized distributions and drive-thru services Others have sent ashes to their members and then organized virtual services Some churches have organized in-person services at social distance In Catholic churches, for example , priests would sprinkle the ashes on people’s heads or place them in the palms of their hands so that they could apply them themselves

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What is Ash Wednesday

Ebene News – United States – Drive-thru and virtual services mark Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent

Source: https://www.sbsun.com/2021/02/17/drive-thru-and-virtual-services-mark-ash-wednesday-and-the-beginning-of-lent/