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What there is to know about Lent 2012

Ash Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, and some churches have made it easy to participate during this very special year.

Never has Ash Wednesday been so easy to participate in.

Ministers in Ohio have decided to offer a drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessing. Reverend Patricia Anderson Cook of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church in Cincinnati is offering services this evening held in the church’s parking lot.

Cook told the Cincinnati Inquirer, “Some people are very busy and some people get a little intimidated walking into a church, this is for them.”

In New Jersey, two Episcopalian ministers are offering “ashes to go” for people commuting at a local train station. 

One of the reverends involved, Reverend Andrew Butler said, “More and more, people’s schedules keep tem from attending church, especially those who commute into NYC, so we are taking the ashes to them.”

According to Catholic.org, Ash Wednesday starts the beginning of the Season of Lent. It allows Catholics a time of “penance, reflection and fasting” that will prepare them for Easter Sunday.

Ash Wednesday occurs 40 days before Easter and falls on different dates each year, depending on the date that Easter follows on for the year.

This year, Catholics will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, a French priest who had ties to Jesus’ mother Mary and created the Total Consecration.

The Total Consecration, which is made up of prayers and spiritual practices, occurs on the same day that Lent starts this year. Father Ryan Wayne Erlenbush told LA Times that the next time this will happen will be 2075.

Erlenbush said, “It’s a unique opportunity to do both, this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make it our best Lent ever.”

For those interested, St. Louis-Marie de Montfort’s Total Consecration can be followed through Erlenbush’s blog.

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