A church in Galway has come up with a new way of giving out ashes on Ash Wednesday. 

A drive-thru service for Ash Wednesday at St. Patrick's Church in Glenamaddy, Co Galway, now in its fourth year, has been another big success.

Ash Wednesday is one of the most significant days in the Roman Catholic calendar and it marks the beginning of lent, a six-week holy period in the lead up to Easter Sunday. 

Read More: The Irish and Ash Wednesday - Lent, meatless Fridays, hot-crossed buns

To mark Ash Wednesday, those of a Catholic persuasion usually go to mass and receive ashes on their forehead in the form of a cross. 

In the past, Catholics only received ashes during mass on Ash Wednesday, but the Catholic Church has recently introduced 'Ashes to Go' - where a priest is available to give out ashes outside of mass times - to accommodate busy schedules. 

This is usually done by a priest standing at the altar throughout the day, but Father Paddy Mooney of St. Patrick's Church in Glenamaddy has taken this convenience to the next level. 

Father Mooney stood in the church carpark between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and gave out ashes to parishioners who drove in through one gate, stopped for their ashes, and then drove out a different gate.  

The whole process took less than a minute and hundreds of people took advantage of the novel idea. 

Drive-thru #AshWednesday i nGleann na Madadh @NuachtTG4 pic.twitter.com/nBPA1ZNuQW

— Shane Ó Curraighín (@Curraighin) February 26, 2020

The Galway-based priest said that he wanted to facilitate those who couldn't make the mass due to mass or school commitments by coming up with the most convenient way of giving out ashes. 

“People are so busy these days, people are rushing to get to work, or school or things like that so they might miss mass in the morning and we’re trying to facilitate them and make things a bit easier," he said last year. 

“Our church lends itself to the idea because you can drive in one gate and out the other, going past the door of the church, so we’re facilitating that.”

Read More: How did your Irish ancestors traditionally uphold Lent

Have you ever taken part in a drive-thru Ash Wednesday service? Let us know in the comments!

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