Church preps for Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

Michelle Easterling receives ashes from Rev. Lynn Ronaldi during last year's observance of Ash Wednesday by taking advantage of "Ashes to Go."
Staff Writer

The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation has a busy week ahead with a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Feb. 13. and Ash Wednesday observance Feb. 14.

"Most people know the last day of the Mardi Gras season as Fat Tuesday," said Lynn Ronaldi, Episcopal priest of the Church of the Incarnation. "It is actually Shrove Tuesday. Shrove or Shrive which is an old English word meaning self examination It is a day to enjoy rich foods before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten Season, when more frivolous things are abandoned or given up until Easter. Lent is considered the Fasting Season."

The Episcopal Church is sponsoring a Pancake Supper, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 13, with fluffy pancakes, butter and syrup. There will be sausage and bacon, all for $5 for an individual or $10 for a family, according to Ronaldi.

"This is a fun time of good food and fellowship," Ronaldi said. "Robert Totten, an award winning Jazz pianist, will provide music, along with Ken Ivy, and I have some Zydeco music to get everyone in the Mardi Gras mood."

Participants are encouraged to wear green, gold and purple clothing, masks and beads. Ronaldi would like to invite the community to come and be a part of the celebration at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation. Ronaldi said the pancake supper is open to the public. Church membership is not required.

"The nest day is Ash Wednesday," Ronaldi said. "It is a solemn time entering into Lent. We offer ashes in the sign of the cross on the forehead. The Bible tells us we were created from dust and when we die, our bodies return to dust. I like to call us 'Beloved Dust" because God created us and loves us, we are part of Him."

As times have changed and life has become more hectic, many people don't have the time to attend an Ash Wednesday service. So churches across the country have adapted to allow those who wish to be part of the Ash Wednesday tradition to be able to drive by the church with "Ashes to Go."

"We have done 'Ashes to Go' or "Drive thru Ashes' before. It is becoming very popular." Ronaldi said. "I'll offer the imposition of ashes from noon until 2 p.m. We want to accommodate as many people as possible by being in the parking lot of the church to allow those who wish to receive ashes, do so, without leaving their car."

Ronaldi said she has worked in major hospitals in large cities and offered the ashes on Ash Wednesday to those who wished to participate.

"Many people who wanted to receive the ashes were not part of a denomination that takes part in Lent," Ronaldi said. "A lot of them had no religious affiliation at all but were very open to having ashes on their forehead. I was happy to administer the imposition of the ashes."

Ronaldi said she went to the Henry Clay last year to allow the residents to participate in Ash Wednesday.

"I'll go again to the Henry Clay and am planning to go to Dugan Memorial Home, as well," Ronaldi said. "I want to include those who may not be able to drive to the church or who don't like getting out in cold weather."

Ronaldi explained that the ashes come from burning the blessed palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday, leading up to the celebration of Easter.