Local pastors offer Christ’s forgiveness to Ash Wednesday commuters

     Pastors from St. Peter’s Church distribute ashes at Market East Station on Ash Wednesday in Philadelphia as part of Ashes to Go, a nationwide initiative (Eugene Sonn/WHYY)

    Pastors from St. Peter’s Church distribute ashes at Market East Station on Ash Wednesday in Philadelphia as part of Ashes to Go, a nationwide initiative (Eugene Sonn/WHYY)

    Christians the world over awoke this morning ready to give — and to get.

    Today is Ash Wednesday. In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season Lent. It is a time of repentance and fasting and marks the beginning of the count down to Easter.

    On Ash Wednesday believers receive a cross of ashes on their foreheads, as a reminder of Jesus’s suffering. They also give — as in give up something for Lent, in addition to weekly fasting as many abstain from eating meat on Fridays.

    Here in Philadelphia St. Peter’s Church participates in Ashes to Go, a new nationwide movement that has clergy visiting transit stops, street corners, coffee shops, and college campuses to mark the foreheads of interested passers-by with ashes.

    This morning, pastors from St. Peter’s Church distributed ashes at Market East Station for the third straight year. Last year, more than 500 commuters received ashes during the initiative.

    According to the Pew Research Center there are 2.18 billion Christians worldwide.

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