Record number of Catholics attend drive-thru Ash Wednesday services in Ireland

Record number of Catholics attend drive-thru Ash Wednesday services in Ireland

AN INCREASING number of Irish Catholics are taking advantage of ‘drive-thru’ religious services in a bid to maintain their faith, albeit in a timely manner.

It comes as a Galway Parish reports experiencing a record number of attendees to its new drive-thru Ash Wednesday Service.

Traditionally, Irish Catholics are encouraged to visit their local church on Ash Wednesday.

It’s custom for Catholics to get ashes on their forehead as a reminder of their own mortality, often accompanied by the words “'we are dust and to dust we shall return”.

They are also encouraged to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, though its not a holy day of obligation, meaning many opt out of the latter.

Eager to provide a quick and easy service to its congregation, St Patrick’s Church in Glenamaddy introduced a unique Ash Wednesday service a few years back.

It allows parishioners to drive up to the church in a car, bike, truck or event tractor to get their ashes from a priest or volunteer.

This year St Patrick’s Church reported seeing a record number of people using its drive thru service.

“Record numbers attended the Drive Thru Ashes this morning outside of St. Patrick's Church, Glenamaddy. Mass will be celebrated at 7pm this evening in Glenamaddy,” a Facebook post reads.

The upsurge comes during a time when the Catholic Church is increasingly under the microscope following a string of sexual abuse scandals involving priests.

Ireland, meanwhile, is facing an uncertain future with Brexit looming and the border on the island of Ireland a major point of contention in the ongoing negotiations.