Despite a little bit of rain, Revd Catherine Cleghorn and Revd Becky Mathew took to the streets of Ashton-upon-Mersey to mark Ash Wednesday with local people.
It was the first time since 2020 that Catherine and Becky have been able to impose ashes on people and to pray with them in this way. The lifting of Covid restrictions has meant that they can once again share in this tradition with churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike.
Catherine said: "It's been wonderful to engage with people in this way. People have been really open to chatting with us and to praying with us as well."
The ashes symbolise the dust from which God made us and the grief that we have sinned and caused division from God.
As a priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he or she speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Catherine is the Priest in Charge at St Martin's Church, Ashton-on-Mersey and Becky is the Vicar at St Paul's, Sale. Within a few moments of arriving on the high street, local residents approached them asking to be marked with the cross. Asked afterward why it was important to them, they said it was a way to show other people that they were Christian.
There then followed a steady stream of people who approached Catherine and Becky. Whilst not everyone wanted the imposition of ashes on their forehead, many were happy to share in a moment of quiet prayer.
You can see a short video of Catherine and Becky below: