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Falls church takes ashes to street

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Thu, Feb 23rd 2017 01:15 pm

On Ash Wednesday, March 1, St. Peter's Episcopal Church will offer "Ashes to Go," a new approach to the centuries-old Christian tradition.

Since the Middle Ages, Catholic Christians have "received a cross of ashes on the forehead on the first day of Lent as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God's forgiveness," event organizers said. The downtown Niagara Falls church will be part of a nationwide movement that has clergy and lay people visiting transit stops, street corners and coffee shops to offer the ancient traditions to people in their daily life and work. 

"I was pretty hesitant the first time I did this," admits the Rev. Dr. Howard Whitaker, priest-in-charge of St. Peter's. "I was afraid I would look like some religious wacko in a New Yorker cartoon. But people have been welcoming and grateful. We obviously need some signs of grace in the middle of our tough days and messy lives. We need to know we are known, loved, and forgiven."

Teams from St. Peter's will start the day at Niagara Falls Medical Center from 6-8 a.m. during shift change. There will be a station at Community Missions before lunch from 10:45-11:45 a.m. For those wishing a traditional service with readings and Holy Communion, that will take place at noon in historic St. Peter's on Rainbow Boulevard at Second Street.

From 2:30-4 p.m., ashes will be offered at the corner of Main and Third streets. From 4:30-6:30 p.m., ashes will be offered outside Tops Market and the NFTA station on Portage Road. The day will end back at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center from 7-8:30 p.m.

More details and a schedule can be found on St. Peter's website at www.stpetersniagarafalls.org.

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