Church leaders to hit the streets for Ash Wednesday ‘to meet people’ where they are

A coalition of Christian churches will also observe Ash Wednesday by launching a “40 Days of Peace” campaign in Pilsen.

SHARE Church leaders to hit the streets for Ash Wednesday ‘to meet people’ where they are
A congregant receives the imposition of ashes from Father Tom Hurley at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on the Near West Side on Ash Wednesday last year.

A congregant receives the imposition of ashes from Father Tom Hurley at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on the Near West Side on Ash Wednesday last year.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file photo

Ash Wednesday has looked a little different for the past two years, but as coronavirus cases have precipitously dropped — and masks have come off — ministers bearing palm ash plan to go directly to the people.

Pastor Hannah Kardon from Urban Village Church said last year, her Methodist congregation mailed ash to people’s home with a prayer and also set up in two locations in the city to distribute it.

This year the church’s members will be at 12 locations across the city in addition to returning to in-person Ash Wednesday services.

But they will continue virtual events and have mailed ash to those who requested it.

La Voz Sidebar

Lea este artículo en español en La Voz Chicago, la sección bilingüe del Sun-Times.
la-voz-cover-photo-2.png

“It feels good to be doing things in more ways than we have,” said Kardon. “In the pandemic people really need a space to grieve and talk about death, and this is a good time for people to recognize death and everything is temporary.”

Urban Village Church will be at Metra stations, Chicago Transit Authority “L” stops, Daley Plaza, Loyola University and outside a busy commercial corridor in Hyde Park. For a complete list of times and locations, visit the church’s Facebook page.

“I always found it to be really important to meet people where they’re at,” Kardon said. “Lots of people won’t know it is Ash Wednesday and they will see us and be reminded, or a lot won’t feel comfortable in a church setting so being out there helps us reach these folks.”

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the 2022 Lenten season, which is a 40-day period dedicated to reflection, prayer and fasting before Easter. The ashes of burned palms are placed in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of believers — a symbol of repentance.

A coalition of churches will also observe Ash Wednesday by launching a “40 Days of Peace” campaign in Pilsen. The coalition, known as the Pilsen Faith Table Initiative, is calling on all churches, businesses and residents to be “peacemakers” in the neighborhood.

“This is an opportunity to pray for peace, not only for the people in our own communities but around the world,” said Mike Enright, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church. “We are all children of a loving God, a God who weeps also for those who commit violence upon others. We, as His children, are called to bring peace through our words and our actions.”

Ministers and priests of seven Pilsen churches will offer prayer and ashes at the 18th Street Pink Line station, 1710 W. 18th St., from 7 to 9 a.m. and again from 5 to 7 p.m. They will also be at the Pink Line’s Damen station, 2010 S. Damen Ave., at the same times.

The Chicago Airports Catholic Chaplaincy, located in O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, will offer ashes at Masses and liturgical services throughout the day — something it has done since the 1980s.

Parishes will also be at several CTA stations as well.

The Latest
The second-year forward knows there’s a youth movement underway. Now that he’s healthy, he’s looking to see what part he’ll play in it.
The Illinois Republican has a lot going on at the convention because he wears a lot of hats. He’s a vice chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee — a House GOP political organization — and a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and the Intelligence Committee.
If the Cubs were good enough to go to Baltimore and sweep a three-game series against the playoff-bound Orioles, it’s too soon to dismiss them.
The Sun-Times’ annual season-opening test of fans’ optimism/pessimism is a little skewed this year. With Caleb Williams, DJ Moore, Keenan Allen & Co. and a defense on the rise, Bears fans have every right to feel good about this team. What can go wrong?