Drive Through Ash Wednesday Services

greetings was listening to the radio yesterday and I heard that some non Catholic churches are doing drive through ash wednesday services.

the above link is one of the stories.

It’s a nice idea to bring this service to people who don’t have time but when I first heard it I didn’t really like the idea. I think it contributes to much for our get it right now mentality we have in this country. I also think by doing this drive through thing you are making it to much about the thing you receive and not enough about what the ashes actual symbolize. As I’m sure many of us know, the ashes symbolize that we are doomed to die and return to dust, that itself should make us reflect and I don’t think you can properly do that driving up to a church and getting ashes while in the car.

If people want to go to an ash wednesday service than they should make sacrifices in their day to do it. You have work at 8:30 and you don’t have time after work, go find a service at 7am and wake up early. I don’t think it is such a norm that so many people can’t go to some Ash Wednesday service in their day that they have to do a drive through.

There is a reason we need to go to Church services and spend time in prayer with community. Drive through ash Wednesday defeats this purpose. Also I would suspect many people who could go to an hour long service would pass up on that and just do the drive through thing.

So are my concerns well placed? Do you find it problematic that we have drive through ash Wednesday services?

Note: I would hope no Catholic Church would ever do this, the ashes are not even the most important thing on Ash Wednesday for Catholics.

I agree and the ashes aren’t the most important thing. Our priest specially held the ashes until the very end so people wouldn’t get the ashes and leave.

At my husbands work a Protestant minister came around to distribute the ashes for those who couldn’t make the service (my husband declined) I also have mixed feelings about this but at the same time it’s nice that people will participate that wouldn’t otherwise. Also, I think it’s important for people to see ashes on others throughout the day. The more representing Christianity, the better.

Don’t worry, that won’t ever happen in a Catholic Church, at least not by a good, faithful priest. God Bless, Memaw

I actually attempted to have something similar done at our parish. I wanted to have two EM’s stand outside the Church on the steps from 6:00 am to 7:30 am which is before Mass. While there was initial acceptance, when it was kicked “upstairs” to the Diocese the decision was “No, it reduces the receiving of ashes to an afterthought”.

However, the receiving of the ashes is not just beneficial to the recipient. It is the one day of the year where you can “spot” the Catholics and it allows us to quietly evalgelize to our co-workers.

All too many of us have to be at work before any Mass is said. Restaurant workers, people at the hospital, etc. need to be in BY 7:00 am. This simple gesture of receiving ashes allow us to tesify.

There is no requirement that ashes be given only as a part of Mass. Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.

The real reason we recieve Ashes is to remind us of our death, so we can prepare for a holier Lent. Not for ‘show and tell’. The more we "dumb down’ something, the less it means to us. We have Mass on Ash Wed. evening for those that can’t come in the morning. God Bless, Memaw

There is no requirment that Holy Communion be given only as a part of Mass either but it is generally done so in that manner. Just because it’'s not a Holy Day of Obligation doesn’t mean it’s not important. Our 7 am Mass was full this morning!!! God Bless, Memaw

Why can’t it be both?

If the only purpose were to remind us of our death, then perhaps instead we should receive a little holy card with the words “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return” and we should shove it in our wallet, and once in a while, in private, we can take it out for a furtive glance.

No, ashes are placed on the forehead, where they become a sign for others. This practice predates the widespread use of mirrors, so I am willing to bet that it was never intended to be a private or self-centered reminder.

I don’t think anyone implied it’s for show and tell, but yes showing and telling is spreading the good news : )

The more the better : )

I come into work at 6:00 am and will be going to Mass with a group of co-workers at lunch, but there are a few people in our building that have ashes imposed already and I agree that it is a way of confessing your beliefs. And it also binds us together in ways that are usually neglected in a secular workplace.

While “drive though” ashes sounds little ridiculous, I don’t think ashes-only services are inherently a bad thing. Some people really do have lives that are too busy in the middle of the week to get to a church for a full service. For the past three years, I’ve had a full day of school starting at 7am followed by work until midnight on Ash Wednesday. I have gotten my ashes at work (I work in a hospital and we have visiting priests) and haven’t felt the least bit bad about it!

Going to Mass for ashes is ideal, but isn’t an option for everyone. At least ashes are offered for people with tight schedules.


A lady walked up to my husband today and said “excuses sir you have some dirt on your forehead”. My husband took the opportunity to explain the significance of
the ashes.

So yeah wearing ashes on our forehead is a way to share our faith : )

I didn’t suggest either in my post.

But would you ever be ok with drive through communion lines?

The receiving of ashes is a liturgical action in the Church and just to drive up receive ashes and say a little prayer is not enough IMO.

I’m fine with that too, but the important thing I think is to have people reflect on what they are going through not just to wear it as a uniform or some sign that says hey look over here I’m Catholic. People seeing the ashes are a good thing I don’t disagree at all but when you just receive ashes and say a short prayer I think there is a problem with that.

Even in services that only have the distribution of ashes, I would think there would still be a reading, the blessing of the ashes, along with other things.

Considering the cold and snowy weather we have been experiencing so much around New York City, I think that anyone who goes to church today is brave. The idea that getting ashes via drive thru sounds odd but it may be convenient for many Christians.

The ashes are placed on our forehead because it is the most convient place to put them. Yes they can be a topic of conversation but that is not the reason why they are givin to us. And curb side services would reduce it to an inconvience that we brush by and pick up. God Bless, Memaw The Church is a wise Mother.

Why can’t it be both?

And the placement on the head has roots in Jewish practice. Ashes are an ancient symbol of penitence which predate Christianity. The key is that it has always been a public act of penitence. It is more than private and personal. You could identify penitents because they wore sackloth and covered themselves in ashes. They went out in public like this. Jesus addresses it in the Gospel. So to say that the forehead is simply the most convenient place is to belittle the choice and symbolism contained in it.

That is part of the problem. The focus is on the person, and not on God. The focus is on the person’s convenience, instead of what God wants.

As Christians, we REALLY need to stop making Christianity less and less demanding, and reclaim the “crosses” and “yokes”. We need to stop trying to appease everyone so that they will “buy” the Christian faith. It changes the Christian faith into a consumer good, and the person of most importance is the buyer, and not God.

Even in the Jewish practice, where would you think is the most convient place to put them???
I did say it could be both!!! But I was trying to keep focus on the most important reason for doing it in Church with the Holy Mass and hopefully a good homily by the priest to start our Lent off right. . Rather than drive by ashes. I don’t believe we will ever see that happening anyway. So this whole discussion is rather pointless. God Bless, Memaw

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