An alternative to traditional Ash Wednesday services - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

An alternative to traditional Ash Wednesday services

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Ash Wednesday: A day of remembrance dating back to biblical times, is surrounded in ritual and tradition.

Ash Wednesday is the start of a period that observes and remembers the forty days the Bible says Jesus spent in the desert being tempted.  While tradition places the Christian faith in a church to mark the day, some religious leaders are recognizing that sometimes, the church has to step outside.

"Remembering that, from dust we came, to dust we shall return," said one parishioner.

"The opportunity for us to begin Lent and the very solemn season of repentance," said Father Reese from Holy Family Church.

Solemn, reverent, repentance.  Common words associated with Ash Wednesday.

"On the go".  A phrase becoming more common amongst professionals, still hoping to recognize the day as well as for pastors, giving outreach a whole new meaning.

"Jesus' ministry was done outdoors mainly," said Rector Eldred George.

So Rector Eldred George does likewise.  Standing on the corner outside Grace Episcopal in Freeport offering ashes and a blessing for busy parishioners.

"We are able to reach more people, not necessarily just those coming to church but those who because of many reasons work heavy schedule and things like that, cannot attend their own churches," said Rector George.

People like Mary Shore.  

"I'm still able to celebrate the Ash Wednesday," said Shore.

Mary attends Grace Episcopal regularly, but not days she has to work.

"My schedule doesn't allow me to attend the two services that they're going to have here today," said Shore.

On a separate note, recent announcements from the Vatican revealed the Pope would be stepping down from his position.  While it's big news for the Catholic church, it doesn't change the meaning of a day set aside for remembrance and repentance.

He's still our Pope right now and that's just part of the life of the church, from time to time, we look to see who God has chosen as our next Pope," said Father Reese.

The Lenten season lasts until Easter and is also marked by the giving up of something for that time period.

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