Churches offer Ash Wednesday blessings to go in New London
New London — The Rev. Sara Ofner Seals of First Congregational Church was offering Ash Wednesday blessings to passers-by along State Street in front of her church Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and prayer and marks the start of the Lenten season in the Western Christian tradition.
Ofner Seals took two shifts, from 8 to 9 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m., offering "ashes to go." She said many people prefer to have their ashes on their arm or wrist rather than their forehead, and she is happy to accommodate them.
Assistant rector the Rev. Dana Stivers, right, and rector the Rev. Ranjit Mathews offered ashes and a blessing to people attending the Ash Wednesday afternoon service at St. James Episcopal Church on Wednesday, and there also was to be a second service at 7 p.m.
Lay Eucharistic ministers Chuck Sharp and Hildy Zeigler of St. James also were offering ashes and blessings "to go" at the Union Station and earlier at the Community Meal Center, and planned later in the day to to to the Covenant Shelter and Homeless Hospitality Center.
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Gov. Ned Lamont said Saturday that 5,276 state residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 165 people have died from the disease. About 1,033 patients have been hospitalized.
A third resident of Bayview Health Care nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19.
With the help of volunteeers who are wearing masks at the Meridian Street shop and practicing social distancing, the Hillery Company has made and shipped tens of thousands of aluminum strips to secure homemade masks to the face.