St. Peter’s brings ashes to the people on Ash Wednesday
Busy believers made time to stop by the parking lot of Big Value Outlet on March 6 for an unconventional Ash Wednesday.
“Our concept of church is getting out and meeting people where they are,” Ciosek said.
Reverend Scott Ciosek and volunteers from St. Peter’s braved the chilly weather with temperatures in the mid-twenties to help those who might not be able to make it to Mass observe the beginning of Lent and be marked with ashes.
Ciosek was sporting custom gloves for the outdoor event, with one thumb cut off so he could mark people with ashes. Although Lent is fairly late this year, the temperatures were colder than in previous years.
This was the sixth year Ciosek and St. Peter’s have participated in Ashes to Go, and the reverend thought it was the busiest Ash Wednesday yet. About 120 or 140 people received ashes during the first part of the event, which ran from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
People wanting to get ashes beat Ciosek and the parishioners to the plaza.
“There was literally a line of 20 or 30 cars all the way up [the plaza],” Ciosek said of the scene when he arrived.
Ciosek said that the event is also an opportunity to meet people who do not regularly attend church, or who have stopped attending.
“A lot of people have come through today and they haven’t been to church in twenty, fifty years, and this sparks something,” Ciosek said, adding that St. Peter’s philosophy is about “accompanying one another on our spiritual journey.”
Those stopping by included the elderly, families with young children, and people who came across the event while out doing errands, and almost all expressed their gratitude for the opportunity as they didn’t have the time or ability to attend Mass.
Eric Cousens and Christie Mateer, two relatively new members of St. Peter’s, said that they especially valued the sense of community at the church and felt welcomed. Along with Michelle Woodacre, they volunteered to help hand out flyers and talk to people about the church.