Christian parishes across Chicago are marking foreheads with palm ash this Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the Lenten season for Christians, taking to various churches and public transportation sites.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the 2022 Lenten season, which is a 40-day period dedicated to reflection, prayer and fasting before Easter. The ashes of burned palms are placed in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of believers — a symbol of repentance.
Ashes are available at Chicago's Old St. Patrick's Church, located at 700 W. Adams St., from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. inside the church. There will be a liturgy service at 5:30 p.m., though there was also a livestreamed mass at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday still available.
The Catholic church was also stationed inside Union Station until 1:30 p.m.
Urban Village Church will be at Metra stations, Chicago Transit Authority “L” stops, Daley Plaza, Loyola University and outside a busy commercial corridor in Hyde Park. For a complete list of times and locations, visit the church’s Facebook page.
Other parishes will be at several CTA stations as well.
A coalition of churches will also observe Ash Wednesday by launching a “40 Days of Peace” campaign in Pilsen. The coalition, known as the Pilsen Faith Table Initiative, is calling on all churches, businesses and residents to be “peacemakers” in the neighborhood.
Pastor Hannah Kardon from Urban Village Church said last year, her Methodist congregation mailed ash to people’s home with a prayer and also set up in two locations in the city to distribute it.
This year the church’s members will be at 12 locations across the city in addition to returning to in-person Ash Wednesday services.
But they will continue virtual events and have mailed ash to those who requested it.
Ministers and priests of seven Pilsen churches will offer prayer and ashes at the 18th Street Pink Line station, 1710 W. 18th St., from 5 to 7 p.m. They will also be at the Pink Line’s Damen station, 2010 S. Damen Ave., at the same times.
The Chicago Airports Catholic Chaplaincy, located in O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, will offer ashes at Masses and liturgical services throughout the day — something it has done since the 1980s.