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Coronavirus: Priest providing 'takeaway ashes' for Ash Wednesday Coronavirus: Priest providing 'takeaway ashes' for Ash Wednesday
(7 days later)
Demand for the ashes is outstripping supplyDemand for the ashes is outstripping supply
A priest in the Republic of Ireland has made "takeaway ashes" available for parishioners to administer at home on Ash Wednesday.A priest in the Republic of Ireland has made "takeaway ashes" available for parishioners to administer at home on Ash Wednesday.
Fr Brian Brady teamed up with a shop in Clonmany, County Donegal, to provide holy ashes in sauce containers.Fr Brian Brady teamed up with a shop in Clonmany, County Donegal, to provide holy ashes in sauce containers.
Covid-19 restrictions in the country mean all church services must be conducted online.Covid-19 restrictions in the country mean all church services must be conducted online.
He told BBC News NI that he has been overwhelmed by the response. All 600 portions of ashes have been taken away.He told BBC News NI that he has been overwhelmed by the response. All 600 portions of ashes have been taken away.
"It's a new experience formed to have people wanting to talk to me," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme."It's a new experience formed to have people wanting to talk to me," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme.
"There's been a lot of attention and people want more ashes but can't get them.""There's been a lot of attention and people want more ashes but can't get them."
The priest said it was "a nice feeling" that this initiative had meant something to people.The priest said it was "a nice feeling" that this initiative had meant something to people.
"A lot of our parishioners would come every year for their ashes and it's so important that we honour those traditions - even at these most difficult times," he said."A lot of our parishioners would come every year for their ashes and it's so important that we honour those traditions - even at these most difficult times," he said.
"We really did have to stretch the old imagination on this one though.""We really did have to stretch the old imagination on this one though."
'Huge community spirit''Huge community spirit'
More than 600 containers have already been distributed for the holy day.More than 600 containers have already been distributed for the holy day.
The containers are limited to one per household and they also include a prayer service for use in the home prepared by Fr Brady.The containers are limited to one per household and they also include a prayer service for use in the home prepared by Fr Brady.
Instructions about how to apply ashes are on the sheet.Instructions about how to apply ashes are on the sheet.
"The advice is to moisten them, but to be careful not to moisten too much as they'll run down your forehead and nose as has happened to many a poor soul in the past," Fr Brady said."The advice is to moisten them, but to be careful not to moisten too much as they'll run down your forehead and nose as has happened to many a poor soul in the past," Fr Brady said.
Staff at the local Centra have being helping make up the containers, which are usually for sauces. Staff at the local Centra have been helping make up the containers, which are usually for sauces.
They have been using burnt palms from Palm Sunday which have been blessed and left out for collection at the three churches in the parish.They have been using burnt palms from Palm Sunday which have been blessed and left out for collection at the three churches in the parish.
What is Ash Wednesday?What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a season of reflection and preparation before Easter.Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a season of reflection and preparation before Easter.
Catholics traditionally attend a Mass at which their foreheads are marked with ash in the shape of a cross.Catholics traditionally attend a Mass at which their foreheads are marked with ash in the shape of a cross.
By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.
The period of reflection is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.The period of reflection is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.
Shop owner Joe Joyce said he could not believe how popular the takeaway ashes have been, and he's also blown away by the amount of media attention they were getting.Shop owner Joe Joyce said he could not believe how popular the takeaway ashes have been, and he's also blown away by the amount of media attention they were getting.
Staff have been working on more containers to help meet the demand, he told BBC News NI.Staff have been working on more containers to help meet the demand, he told BBC News NI.
The staff at the Centra in Clonmany, County Donegal, are being kept busyThe staff at the Centra in Clonmany, County Donegal, are being kept busy
"There is a huge community spirit here in Clonmany, and this is just another thing the village has got behind during these tough times," he said."There is a huge community spirit here in Clonmany, and this is just another thing the village has got behind during these tough times," he said.
"Through our local community group, Clonmany Together, people have helped deliver groceries, they've delivered medicines, they've done online bingo and now this."Through our local community group, Clonmany Together, people have helped deliver groceries, they've delivered medicines, they've done online bingo and now this.
"It's just another simple gesture that people here wanted to do for others.""It's just another simple gesture that people here wanted to do for others."
Meanwhile Fr Brady confesses that he got "a bit of ribbing from some of his priest friends about takeaway ashes".Meanwhile Fr Brady confesses that he got "a bit of ribbing from some of his priest friends about takeaway ashes".
"But I would hope if priests thought it was worthwhile, they would go with it," he said."But I would hope if priests thought it was worthwhile, they would go with it," he said.
The bishop too is on side.The bishop too is on side.
"He seems to be pleased that an effort has been made to enable this important tradition to continue," said Fr Brady."He seems to be pleased that an effort has been made to enable this important tradition to continue," said Fr Brady.
The Clonmany parish includes St Mary's in Clonmany, St Michael's in Urris and the Oratory of the Assumption, Ballyliffin.The Clonmany parish includes St Mary's in Clonmany, St Michael's in Urris and the Oratory of the Assumption, Ballyliffin.