METAIRIE, La. — The Wednesday after Mardi Gras is the first day of Lent, and Catholics across the world will observe the day by going to Mass to be blessed with ashes.
But one church in Metairie, Louisiana doesn’t require you to go to mass. Instead, you can get your “ashes to go” from the driver’s seat of your car.
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Starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, ministers at Munholland United Methodist Church will begin passing out ashes to motorists. All drivers have to do is pull up and roll down their car windows. One of the ministers will then come spend a moment of prayer with them and rub ashes on their head.
Munholland United Methodist Church located at 1201 Metairie Rd. is hosting imposition of ashes and prayer until 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The church started “Drive Through Ashes” five years ago in 2014. Last year Reverend Annakate Rawles told WWL-TV that the church was completely surprised after 500 cars showed up in its first year. The church then moved the event to its back parking lot after it became so popular that a line of cars blocked the interstate.
More than 1000 cars decided to get their ashes through the "Drive Through Ashes" event in 2018, the church says.
Rawles said that “Drive Through Ashes” allows the church to connect with people in the community that are uncomfortable about going to church. It is also convenient for those who don’t have an hour to spare on Wednesday to go inside and worship but still want to receive ashes.
Also, a church in Slidell is hosting a similar program Wednesday morning. Christ Episcopal Church will host a drive-thru from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and again from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. First responders can jump the line and receive their blessings first.