February 12, 2013

For Christians, Ashes-to-Go offered in several Portland-area locations

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Local Christians looking to get their foreheads marked with ashes on Wednesday can do it while they're dropping off their dry cleaning in Falmouth, mailing a letter in Windham or strolling through a Portland park.

Episcopal clergy from the Portland area will offer the imposition of ashes, along with a blessing, at several unconventional locations on Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent — a six-week period of reflection leading up to Easter.

Ashes-to-Go will be offered in Portland's Monument Square from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and in Post Office Park from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m, in the Windham Post Office parking lot on Route 302 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Pratt-Abbott Cleaners parking lot on Route 1 in Falmouth from 7-9 a.m., and at York Hospital from 1-2 p.m. and 9-10 p.m.

The number of locations has expanded from last year, when Ashes-to-Go was offered in two places in Portland, where about 120 people received them, according to a press release from The Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

The practice of taking the tradition outside of churches began in 2007 at a commuter rail station in Chicago and is now offered in several cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, San Fransisco and Baltimore, the press release said.

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