Local churches holding Ash Wednesday services

Published 1:20 pm Thursday, February 27, 2014

Several local churches will be hosting Ash Wednesday services Wednesday, March 5.

Trinity Episcopal will hold two services on Ash Wednesday, as well as their annual “Mardi Grits” dinner on Tuesday. The Ash Wednesday services will be at noon and at 5:30 p.m.

Trinity rector John David Barnes said Ash Wednesday is an opportunity for people to remember their own mortality.

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“Through the imposition of ashes, we remember the fact that we’re all mortal,” Barnes said. “We have to remember that, ultimately, that’s where we’re headed.”

Ash Wednesday is a fasting day that begins Lent. Lent lasts for 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. The ashes used during Ash Wednesday are traditionally from the palms from the previous years’ Palm Sunday.

“We take our palms, or the palm crosses we make, from the previous year and burn them to use to impose for Ash Wednesday,” Barnes said. “This is an important time for self-reflection.”

On Tuesday, March 4 at 5:30 p.m., Trinity will hold its annual “Mardi Grits” dinner, and following the dinner, they will burn last years’ palms in preparation for Ash Wednesday.

Each Tuesday during Lent, Trinity will also host a Lenten Lunch from noon to 1 p.m. with a speaker each week focusing on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

“Traditionally, pancake suppers are held on Fat Tuesday to get all of the unhealthy things out of the house,” Barnes said. “Using the flour and butter to make the pancakes helps empty those things out of the home before Lent begins.”

St. Leo Catholic Church in Demopolis will hold two services in Demopolis on Ash Wednesday and one in Livingston. The Demopolis services will be at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and the Livingston service will be at noon.

“Ash Wednesday is a day that we remember we’re made from dust and that we’ll return to dust,” Father Larry Shinnick, St Leo’s priest, said. “We use the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday to make the symbol of a cross on the forehead, and we remember that the palms were spread in front of Jesus when he was arriving in Jerusalem.”

Shinnick added that the Catholic Church asks people who are celebrating Ash Wednesday to remember their mortality.

“We ask people to remember we are dust, and our soul will go on forever,” he said.

Demopolis First United Methodist Church will also hold Ash Wednesday services at 6 p.m. in the church sanctuary.

Pastor David Willis said in the United Methodist Church, Ash Wednesday is used as a day of reflection.

“We use Ash Wednesday to pause and reflect on our sinful nature and our mortality,” Willis said. “During the imposition of ashes, we ask that people repent and believe the Gospel.”

Willis added that Ash Wednesday helps people remember that God, through Jesus, has beaten both sin and mortality.

The service will include a time of prayer and reflection, and it will end with the imposition of ashes.

Demopolis First Baptist Church will be hosting a House of Prayer service at 6:15 p.m. in the church sanctuary on Ash Wednesday as well.