Ashes on the Go in Rochester

Posted at: 02/13/2013 5:47 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- On this Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of lent for many Christians, not everyone has the time to head to church to get the traditional ashes on their forehead. So this year, several churches took their ashes to the streets of downtown Rochester.

On a regular weekday morning, the streets of downtown Rochester see plenty of traffic.

"I take the bus every morning to work,” said Rochester resident Theresa Jacobson.

Theresa Jacobson makes the same trip day after day, but on Ash Wednesday, she made an out of the ordinary pit stop.

"It takes about 20 seconds to get a blessing and it feels real good,” said Jacobson.

Reverend Doug Sparks of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Rochester says this is the first time any church in Minnesota has ever offered Ashes To Go.

"This is really an opportunity to stop for a moment have a word of prayer, open oneself up to the possibility of beginning again,” said Sparks.

A new approach to the centuries old Christian tradition.

"This is recognizing that in the midst of business, in the midst of all the other things that go on in our life, we're moving beyond the walls of a building and the doors of a building to encounter people right here on the street corner,” said Sparks.

“If I wouldn't of stepped off the bus and saw those people giving ashes, I wouldn't have gotten ashes today," said Rochester resident Mike Foley.

"That's reason itself to sort of provide this opportunity,” said Sparks.

Some, like Theresa Jacobson feel, whether it's in a church or at a bus stop, it's the thought that counts.

"We live in a convenient society, I think the priests are right on offering this service and it doesn't diminish the sacrament at all I don't feel,” said Jacobson.

Ashes To Go is part of a new nationwide movement. Many Christians across the country received the traditional ashes anywhere in public places like train stations, coffee houses and restaurants.