Thursday, February 16, 2012

Should the Catholic Church Go Out To The Streets and Gives Ashes To Everyone ( Lent 2012)

Over at the Episcopal Cafe I saw this post Gearing up for Ashes to Go.

If you notice they have a link at the bottom where they focused on Ashes to Go last year. The pros and cons are given in the opinion of various Episcopalians.

Question ? Should the Catholic Church do this?

My closest experience to this was in Shreveport and Bossier City Louisiana at Midnight on Fat Tuesday night ( the end of Mardi Gras and Start of Lent ). One Krewe float would come to the top of the bridge over the red river from Shreveport and the other from Bossier City. There was a toast to end the season. Then a Catholic Priest would distribute ashes ( there was a short prayer) to everyone present.

So if this was totally licit or not I am not sure. Do Priests and Deacons go out and give ashes in Nursing Homes and Hospital w/o a liturgy? Again I don't know.

I actually like this idea though I am not that comfortable with a total divorce from the Liturgy. Also I am not aware ( thought their might be one) of a abbreviated service.

Ashes are a sacramental and can be used by anyone. Even a non baptized person.

So what do Catholics think about this. Besides Church services should we go out to the malls, the strip malls, the grocery store , the streets, the bus station , the Walmart ,etc and just give out ashes?

Go 'you are dust and to dust you will return' do the ashes and it's over. I generally find those 9 words very well thought provoking and prayerful.

I would perhaps be against this in a very Catholic area where Catholic might think of this as a short cut. But for a non Catholic or un churched area maybe so.

I might throw this post around to some Priests and Deacons on the TWITTER and see if I can get some answers to these questions.

1 comment:

SJ Reidhead said...

My first response was, oh no, what have they done now. After I read about it, I rather like the idea. If it causes people to stop and think about their lives and repentance of Christ, then what the heck? It can't hurt. If it causes a single soul to turn to Christ, then it is worth it.

Then again, I guess I'm looking at it from the years I worked in our church office, trying to juggle priests to handle a far flung parish. It becomes more about the process and the struggle to get the process going than about the meaning behind it, and Lent. What time will services be held, where, what if I can't get off work, etc.

(I won't even get into a discussion from the point of view of the Altar Guild and getting the ashes out of the Fair Linen - oye!)

We have a lot of "cradle" Episcopalians who have just walked off, walked away. I think, from that point, it is an idea with merit. If someone stops long enough to take ashes and the blessing with them, that is a good thing. If it causes them to think about Christ, then mission accomplished.

The Pink Flamingo