Europe

Galway church plans Ash Wednesday drive-thru

St Patrick's Church Glenamaddy Image copyright Google

Forget burgers and chips. An Irish church is planning to set up a new drive-thru and there's only one thing on the menu - ashes.

Churchgoers will be able to receive the traditional Ash Wednesday blessing from the comfort of their cars thanks to plans in Glenamaddy, County Galway.

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent and falls on 1 March.

Catholics traditionally go to church and have their foreheads marked with ash in the shape of a cross.

However, in a move that brings to mind Las Vegas' famous Little White Chapel and its drive-thru weddings, St Patrick's Church in Glenamaddy is planning a modern approach for those who do not have time to attend Mass.

Thinking outside the box

As reported in the Irish Catholic, the church will allow parishioners to drive up to its front door, receive the traditional blessing and drive off again on their way to work, school or the shops.

The church conveniently has a lane that leads right up to the door.

Fr Paddy Mooney, who agreed the strategy with the church's pastoral council, said the move was about facilitating people and thinking outside the box.

"We looked at the situation on the ground. People and families are on the move all the time," he told the Irish Catholic.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Catholics traditionally receive ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday

"It's about meeting people where they are."

The church will also set up a Lenten petition box in its grounds that will allow people to submit prayer requests during Lent without having to leave their car.

"We're just putting it in front of people to help them think of Lent, as a reminder of it," said the priest.

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