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Central Coast pastors put a pandemic spin on Ash Wednesday traditions

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Feb 17, 2021

Highlands Church in Paso Robles held a drive-thru Ash Wednesday service for its congregation Wednesday morning.

Members drove by and receive the ashes on their foreheads while never leaving their vehicles.

For Pastor James Baird, the ashes signify the first day of Lent but also symbolize how people are feeling.

"We hope that's what's really happening in people's hearts. They're going from a place of the dark ash and brokenness to a place of vibrancy in their life. Seeing the recruiters from the Army next door come by, seeing some of the neighbors seeing the smoke or hear about it on social media coming up and visiting, there's actually a really cool community element happening here. That's one of our big passions is to connect with our community," said Pastor James Baird.

Highlands Church is also hosting an Ash Wednesday service on their lawn at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Churchgoers will be able to drop the palm branches in a fire and take them directly from it during the service.

Students at St. Louis De Monfort Elementary School in Orcutt received their Ash Wednesday blessing.

Father Rossiter blessed the students in the form of ash being sprinkled on top of the heads of the students and faculty.

"Because of COVID-19 and the restrictions that we've had it's not possible to put signs of the cross on the forehead. The church has always had a second way of doing it which is just to sprinkle ashes on the head," said Pastor Rossiter.

The season of Lent starts with Ash Wednesday. The sprinkling of ashes on the head comes from the bible.