Ash Wednesday: Churches mark the start of Lent differently this year

Published: February 17, 2021 5:11 PM EST
Updated: February 17, 2021 5:20 PM EST

Christians around the globe are marking the start of Lent today, albeit a little differently.

It’s Ash Wednesday, the start of six weeks of reflection and repentance leading up to Easter Sunday.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., said he stopped and paused and prated on the decision of when to reopen church, after a period of closures due to the pandemic.

“When do you reopen the churches,” Dewane said. “What could be the consequences? you look long and hard at that.”

Catholic churches were closed during Easter,  the holiest day of the year.

But, this Easter Sunday, churches will be open just as they were on Ash Wednesday.

Music played and people prayed in masks.

Instead of ashes on the forehead, Dewane sprinkles ashes over parishioners’ heads.

“I was a little nervous about the ashes, but it worked out fine,” said Mickey Veenhius. “Father Bob warned us Sunday not to wear white.”

Veenhius and her husband have been Eucharist volunteers at the church, but they have switched gears to help the church through the pandemic.

“Now we’ve become volunteers to sanitize the church after daily mass and Sunday masses too,” she said.

While that’s important, Dewane reminds everyone that Lent and Easter are about much more than keeping buildings open.

“What we need to do profoundly is open our hearts to the lord,” Dewane said. “That’s what needs to be opened.”