‘Ashes To Go’ brings the church to busy worshippers

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CHICAGO — Reverand Ethan Jewett knows our fast-paced world doesn’t always slow down for church on Ash Wednesday.

Here in Chicago’s financial district the day often starts and ends at six.

So this morning church came to them.

By eight this morning, Father Ethan – as he is called at Grace Episcopal Church in the South Loop – was crossing the foreheads of the very busy faithful, helping to mark the beginning of lent with a bit of ease.

Many ran out without hats and gloves to catch him and members of his congregation as they manned the courtyard of the Chicago Board of Trade for several frosty hours on Wednesday.

While Father Ethan says he always encourages the faithful to head to church this day, he is happy to see so many receive the Sacrament of Penance at the start of the Lenten season.

The “Ashes To Go” program actually started in 2010 in St. Louis and quickly moved to Chicago.

This year they’re doing “ashes to go” in more than two dozen states and the UK.


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