By Joe Jackloski
In Wyoming Valley, this heavily blue collar and service work area, picking the proper time for Ash Wednesday service is a challenge, and there are some, like nurses though faithful, simply can't find the time to go to Church.
Fr. John hit upon a novel idea. He would impose ashes on such souls on their way to work by standing on the sidewalk in front of Grace Church. Fully 15 of our Parishioners took advantage of this, but here's where it gets good.
Nurses at the nearby Geisinger Clinic, seeing this, began to line up too, perhaps 20 of them.
And a bedridden neighbor, not a Parishioner, saw this and called the Church office to see if Fr.John would come to her home.
Then Jane Ritsick, a Parishioner, called. It seems when she told her fellow workers at the Saxton Pavilion (a large outpatient medical facility) what Fr John was doing in front of the Church, they wanted in! So Fr. John trundles the mile or so to impose ashes on an eclectic band of the Faithful of several denominations, 60 in number. They were ever so grateful, there are already plans to repeat this next year.
Then of course was our usual evening Eucharist at which our usual half hundred people showed up.
With a little novel thinking, at the end of the day nearly 150 people number had shared their Lenten commitment.
Kudos Father John.
See also WaPo/RNS column by Lauren Winner here.
And Episcopsl News Service on "Ashes To Go" here.
And some sharing on Ash Wenesday services here.