Today is Ash Wednesday, which brings in the first day of Lent — 46 days of reflection and penitence that precede Easter. Observant Christians visit church for special services and to receive ashes on their foreheads. St. George’s Episcopal Church in Maplewood describes the ritual this way on its website:
On Ash Wednesday the imposition of ashes on our foreheads with the words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” acknowledges the reality of the limitations in our human nature. We do not always behave the way we would like and we will not live in the way we are accustomed forever. Though it is difficult, once we accept those realities we begin to see the sheer joy of grace that is in both God’s forgiveness and promise of eternal life.
Around Baristaville, priests and lay people are offering ashes at train stations and other locations; although most took place during morning rush hour, Christ Episcopal Church in Bloomfield/Glen Ridge will dispense ashes at the Glen Ridge and Bloomfield train stations and at the bus stop in front of Christ Church, from 5:30 – 7 p.m.
St. Thomas the Apostle Church, ashes will be distributed during Ash Wednesday Mass at 4:00 p.m. & at 7:30 p.m. Prayer Service
Sacred Heart Church, Ash Wednesday Mass 8am, 12:10pm and 7:30pm. There will also be a service with ashes at 4:00pm.
St. John’s Lutheran Church of Bloomfield, AshWednesday Mass & Ash Distribution, 7:30 pm
Park United Methodist Church, Ash Wednesday Worship Service, 7:00 pm
The Church of St. Valentine, Ash Wednesday Mass & Ash Distribution, 7:00 pm
Montclair State University’s Center for Faith & Spirituality (SC 112), Imposition of Ashes any time 12 – 6 p.m.; Services of Word, Healing & Ashes: 1:30 – 2 p.m., 3:30 – 4 p.m., 5:30 – 6 p.m.
St. George’s Episcopal Church, Services for imposition of ashes are at 7:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. for children, and 8:00 p.m. with choir (preceded by prayer and meditation at 7:30 p.m.).
Morrow Memorial Church, Ash Wednesday service at 8:00pm in the Sanctuary. The service will feature the chancel choir, the jazz vespers ensemble and ashes will be offered to anyone wishing to receive them.
The Episcopal Church of St. Andrew’s and Holy Communion, ashes distributed at 5:30 p.m. Children’s Mass and at 7:30 p.m. Mass.