Episcopal Diocese Tries "Ashes to Go" in WNY

February 13, 2013 Updated Nov 25, 2013 at 1:41 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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February 13, 2013 Updated Nov 25, 2013 at 1:41 PM EDT

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) Morning drivers in Orchard Park were surprised to see an outdoor service being held in the parking lot of Saint Mark's Episcopal Church on East Quaker Street.

St. Mark's was one of seven Episcopal Churches in Western New York that was trying out something new called "Ashes to Go."

Started in Saint Louis in 2007, "Ashes to Go" offered a drive-thru service so people could receive the traditional marking on their foreheads of a cross drawn with ashes.

It is a centuries-old Christian tradition that marks the beginning of Lent which is a period of penance, fasting, and repentance leading up to Easter.

Thirteen priests and the Episcopal Bishop, Right Reverend William Franklin, distributed "Ashes to Go" at several locations throughout the area.

This was the first year that "Ashes to Go" was tried in the Western New York area, and a Diocesan spokesperson said it was so popular that it will most likely be done again next year.