Ash Wednesday in the Public Square

The priests’ signs shouted “LIFE IS VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY SHORT” and “MORE FORGIVENESS.” The signs were duct-taped to the fence behind a cardtable altar draped in black. How would tired commuters respond as they exited their subway station and drove past on the street?


• “Some big Chicano guy pulled up in a truck, put on his blinkers, and threw open the door—’Oh! Can I have those? Wait, my mom is in the back seat, can you go give her some?’

• “The amazing thing is that when you touch people’s foreheads and tell them they are going to die, they inevitably say, ‘Thank you.’

• “Then I went into MacDonalds, where I went through the dining area with people pulling at my cassock and saying ‘Por favor’ and I gave ashes, in Spanish, to all the fry cooks, and some teenage girls.

• “In Dianda’s bakery, a baker holding a huge cake in her hands leaned over the counter to me and closed her eyes and said, ‘Please.’ I told her she was dust….”

Read the rest of the story at Ash Wednesday in the Street.

Thanks to Christine Driggers for telling me about this!

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About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in Church, culture, public square and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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