CHICAGO - With COVID-19 restrictions loosening, many people are heading back to church for Ash Wednesday for the first time in two years.
But at the River Forest Metra Station, commuters had a chance to get ashes and blessings on the go.
This is just one of several spots where members of the Urban Village Church offered Ash Wednesday ceremonies, not just to commuters on the run to catch a train, but also to anyone who drove up.
One man said he was relieved that he could get his ashes and still make his appointment with the taxman.
Pastor Chan Choi said it's a chance to connect with people as the journey to Easter Sunday begin – and for Christians to remember who they are.
"Especially during this long pandemic, people didn't have a chance to receive those ashes, and this is a good reminder that we are here as a church, and we are here with the hope for the resurrection of Jesus," the pastor said.
Valerie Visus said she thinks it's a great idea.
"I think it's great because I can't make the early service and I can't make the after work service and so it works out very well for me. And it's something I still want to do," Visus said. "It's embedded in my head and I still want to do it every year."
Also new this year, Urban Village’s fifth and most recent congregation site - UVC West - will partner with nursing students from Dominican University in River Forest to offer ashes throughout the day in the near-western suburbs.
UVC members are giving ashes and blessings at Daley plaza at noon, and from 5-6 p.m. at the River Forest Metra station and the Logan Square and Division blue line stations.
From 5:30-6:30 p.m., they are being offered at the Harlem Green Line station and the Bryn Mawr Red Line station.