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Ash Wednesday during the pandemic: Churches adapt with Lent kits, ashes 'to go'

From to-go kits to requiring reservations before an Ash Wednesday service. Here's what some Georgia Churches are doing.

ATLANTA — It's no surprise that like everything else during the pandemic, Ash Wednesday will look different, too. 

Churches of different denominations across Georgia are making sure you still get your ashes while being safe.

For those who want to participate in the Ash Wednesday tradition of placing the repentance ashes on their foreheads while staying at home, that's now a possibility.

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St. Ann's Catholic Church will be holding both in-person and virtual mass, in addition to providing "Lent to-go kits."

Stephanie Holden with St. Ann's Church said those kits will include ashes, a candle and a prayer.

"I've been surprised with how many people are interested so I hope we have enough," said Holden. 

St. Ann's has put together 100 kits that will be made available to pick-up Wednesday morning.

Credit: St. Ann's Catholic Church
Lent to-go kits distributed by St. Ann's Catholic Church

McKendree United Methodist Church put together about 250 similar kits available for people to pick up, and have already handed out about 200. 

Assistant Pastor Paula Dallas said right now they're not offering in-person mass but will have a 30-minute virtual mass available Wednesday morning. In that service, they explain how to put on the ashes.

"Never in a million years did I imagine this... I don't think anyone imagined that this is what we'd be doing for Ash Wednesday," said Dallas.

Credit: McKendree UMC
Ashes given out by McKendree United Methodist Church

Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church has already handed out some of the ashes they are offering.

Senior Pastor Dock Hollingsworth said the ashes come along with instructions to help people put them on during a virtual service.

"We made little at-home kits and folks drove by Sunday after church and picked up a kit and took it home with directions on how to mix the oil and ashes," said Hollingsworth.

Credit: Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church
Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church has already handed out some ashes with instructions on how to put them on

They put together about 100 kits and will also be doing a virtual service.

"All year we've been having to figure out how do we preserve the most sacred part of our traditions and do it in new ways," said Hollingsworth.

These are just three of many parishes in the area offering at-home kits. For those choosing to attend in person, some churches are requiring a reservation before attending the service to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

Credit: St. Ann's Catholic Church