Religious traditions not meant to be carried out “on the go”


Jennifer Su

Coppell High School junior Eva Gamboa closes the door of St. Ann’s Catholic Parish on Wednesday after mass. Ash Wednesday is one of the most important dates in the Catholic religion and opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.

Aisha Espinosa, Staff Writer

One of the many traditions of practicing Catholicism (and a few branches of Christianity) is the season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to the Easter holiday.

Ash Wednesday marks off the season of fasting, with many Catholics and Christians going to a mass or service and receiving ashes made from palm fronds from the previous year’s Easter.

Coming from a family comprised of almost all Roman Catholics, Ash Wednesday isn’t a new concept for me. I’ve had my fair share of crosses marked on my forehead in black, of jam-packed Ash Wednesday masses and of people giving me odd looks in the hallways.

What is different, however, is the concept of ashes on the go – priests going to different locations to distribute ashes. According to one article, they are going to schools, college campuses and even a few Starbucks locations. Others are settling in parking lots, and hosting a sort of drive thru for ashes.

While I understand that going to a church for a mass or even to just line up to receive ashes takes time and may not be convenient, I also think that a tradition such as this should not be carried out in a place with little to no religious meaning.

The ashes are a symbol of penance, a reminder to make up for wrongdoings and more importantly, a long-held tradition of significant religious importance. But, if  traditions like these are taken out of the church, or any religious place, they tend to lose their meaning.

And with Lent being a more serious season, the meaning of Ash Wednesday should be held at a more important place than convenience. When people turn to parking lots or Starbucks locations, religious days become mundane, common events that fade into the background of an already busy life.

But shouldn’t we be preserving our religions? So many different cultures are tied to religions that the fading of religious practices could lead to a disappearance in many cultures as well.

The concept of ashes on the go doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s a way for people to get their ashes faster, and is very convenient for a lot of people. But some churches offer convenience as well, offering times for people to receive ashes without having to go to a mass or service.

In this day and age, convenience is nice. But not if it comes at the cost of losing tradition.