Ash Wednesday in the Diocese of Fort Worth

Ash Wednesday in the Diocese of Fort Worth

“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

“Ashes to Go” and even “Drive-thru Ashes” were offered in several locations in the diocese on Ash Wednesday, February 13. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent, a time of reflection and prayer lasting 40 days. It culminates in Holy Saturday and Easter, which this year is March 31.  Priests make the sign of the cross in ashes on people’s foreheads as a visible symbol of human mortality.

Drive-Thru Ashes were offered in Keller by the Rev. Amy Haynie and the Rev. Henry Penner of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church. From 4:30 to 6 p.m. drivers along South Pearson Lane in Keller were invited to enter the parking lot and receive ashes without leaving their cars, and then exit again onto Pearson Lane. More than 40 people took advantage of the offer.

Photo of Episcopal Priest giving Ashes to Go
St. Luke’s in the Meadow Ashes To Go

In Fort Worth, families dropping children off at Meadowbrook Elementary and Meadowbrook Middle schools as well as morning commuters were pleased to see the Rev. Susan Slaughter of St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church and the Rev. Cindy Ruiz of St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church offering ashes at 7:30 a.m. at the corner of Meadowbrook Drive and Somerset. More than 45 people took advantage of the offering, most requesting prayers in Spanish.

In Arlington, the Rev. Tracie Middleton of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Hurst, worshiping in the wedding chapel, and the Rev. Doyle Dietz Allen of St. Alban’s, Arlington, worshiping in Theater Arlington, offered ashes at noon at the University of Texas at Arlington just outside the student center and library. This is the second year ashes have been offered at that location and students came looking for them.

Ashes to Go on Ash Wednesday at Tarleton State University
Tarleton State University Ashes to Go

And in Stephenville, parishioners from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church offered ashes on the campus of Tarleton State University at noon in front of the Thompson Student Center. This also is the second year ashes have been offered on that campus.

Ashes to Go began a few years ago with a few Episcopal Churches in the Midwest taking the ritual outside the walls of their churches to meet people where they live and work and have their being. Last year, Ashes to Go was offered in 21 states, and this year church leaders in two other countries have confirmed they plan to begin their own version of the tradition.

The idea is to offer a low-key invitation without pressure to allow people to receive ashes even if they cannot attend a traditional service.

But, no matter where one receives ashes on the first day of Lent, the blessing remains the same:
“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

You can view photos of the day on Flickr.