Ash and Dash: Drive-thru church service offers ashes on the go

BOB MCKINNEY: What I know

BOB MCKINNEY: What I know

Some may choose to make their loved ones feel special on the day by gifting them with their favorite book, gadget or other items while others may opt to give a treat, perhaps a delicious meal or a romantic dinner.

As we celebrate Valentine's Day, devout Christians are also celebrating and observing Ash Wednesday, the start of the period known as Lent, on 14 February this year.

"Ash Wednesday has precedence, and the coincidence of St. Valentine's Day would not lift for us the duty of fasting and self-denial", he wrote.

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Lent actually begins on the same day as Valentine's Day this year. This odd connection causes some problems for Roman Catholics and other Christians who celebrate Lent as a fast in the lead-up to Easter, but it also provides an incentive for holiday mash-up phrases. "It's meant to be a positive and good thing". But today, it is celebrated across the globe irrespective of religion and region as a festival of love.

For the second consecutive year, archdiocesan leaders are encouraging Catholics to go without their cellphones on Fridays this Lent.

The Rev. Jill Sander-Chali, associate pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, said the two traditions make a stark contrast when it comes to feasting and candies versus a day of fasting. After a series of parish mergers and church building closures since last summer, pastors of parishes with multiple church buildings will determine the church where confessions will be heard.

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The Rev. Rebecca A. Barnes, priest in charge at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Scranton, said she delivered much the same message to her parishioners in reminding them Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting. "With confession, our goal here is to be welcoming".

The week before Lent (Cheesefare week) they give up meat and other animal products, except dairy and eggs. The holiday falls on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, and a date is significant for many Christians, particularly Catholics. On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, many observant Christians go to church and receive an outward sign of their faith via ashes on the forehead. "And so, due to the importance of Ash Wednesday in the lives of all Catholics and many others, a dispensation or commutation will not be granted". Many Christians follow Christ's example during the 40 days of Lent prior to the celebration of Easter Sunday.

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