Center City church brings Ash Wednesday to the people

Dan Wing
March 06, 2019 - 10:31 am
Sean Lanigan of St. Peter's Episcopal Church

Dan Wing/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Among the hustle and bustle of a morning commute at Jefferson Station on Wednesday morning was a sight that has become familiar over the past few years: a pair of fully robed clergy members marking people's foreheads with ashes before taking a moment for a prayer. 

March 6 this year is the start of Lent, the Christian season preceding Easter. On Ash Wednesday, not everybody has time to stop by their church to get the ashen cross on their forehead, so clergy from St. Peter's Episcopal brought the church to the people. 

Hundreds of commuters took advantage of the "Ashes to Go" event last year. This year was no different, as people lined up waiting their turn.

"People come in waves, and there's always a lot of people who are just really grateful that we're here," Rev. Sean Lanigan said. "Life is complicated. So if faith can be out in the world, all the better."

Lanigan says the ashes are symbolic of many different things to different people — "of mortality, of the ways that we are lost in our lives and the ways we are not who we want to be, of the ways we need healing and hope and love."

Lanigan says all those different meanings help people connect with their religion. And for those who have maybe strayed from the church in recent years, it makes for the perfect day and way to reconnect.