By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) – Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent in the Catholic Church. However, getting to church in the middle of the week isn’t always easy.

The Archdiocese found a solution: “ashes to-go.”

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This concept isn’t entirely new. It was inspired by Pope Francis.

A priest distributes ashes on Boston Common (WBZ-TV)

A priest distributes ashes on Boston Common (WBZ-TV)

“We can wait in our churches for people to come, but that’s only part of our effort. The other part has to be out in the public square,” said Reverend Paul Soper of the Archdiocese of Boston.

It’s the first day of fasting and prayer, leading up to Easter. The Archdiocese of Boston fully recognizes how busy people are and that some may not be able to attend mass. So, they brought the ashes to the parishioners.

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“Convenience is a big part of it and kind of a reminder to people,” said Reverend Soper. “Even if they don’t get ashes, it’ll be a big reminder that Lent starts today.”

A priest distributes ashes on Boston Common (WBZ-TV)

A priest distributes ashes on Boston Common (WBZ-TV)

The two priests at Boston Common did not have a dull moment, with busy commuters flocking to them.

“I can practice my faith in commute, which is great, because I was unable to get to my parish this morning,” said Maria Spina.

It’s a simple gesture but one that is proving to be very effective.

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In the fast paced world that we all live in, this unconventional Ash Wednesday act may soon become a permanent ritual.

Bill Shields