SEATTLE – With work, traffic, school and life’s responsibilities, it can be challenging to make it to church to mark the beginning of Lent.
Working in the secular world for years, “I always found it difficult to [get] to an Ash Wednesday service,” said Deacon Dennis Kelly, now pastoral coordinator at Christ Our Hope Parish in downtown Seattle.
To make it easier for Catholics to receive their ashes on Ash Wednesday, Christ Our Hope is trying something different this year: “Ashes on the Hour,” a liturgy that comes from the Book of Blessings, Deacon Kelly said.
Mass isn’t required to receive ashes, he noted. So in addition to its Ash Wednesday Masses at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on February 26, Christ Our Hope will distribute ashes at the top of every hour, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Deacon Kelly said.
As the parish team discussed the idea, they gave serious thought to what times people are downtown, he explained.
“Our mission is to be there for people who live and work in downtown Seattle when it’s convenient for them to come and receive ashes,” Deacon Kelly said. “This makes it easier to honor the beginning of Lent.”
Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, but most parishes have Ash Wednesday Masses. At Christ Our Hope (located at 1902 Second Ave.), Father Bryan Hersey, parish priest, will preside at the two Masses, assisted by Deacon Kelly.
Deacon Kelly encourages Catholics to take advantage of the opportunity to receive ashes at Christ Our Hope, whether it’s at Mass or one of the hourly services.
“We’re all called to wear that cross on our head to show we’re all sinners,” he said.