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'Ashes to go' for busy New Yorkers

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

From Union Square to the Upper East Side, Christians stopped on street corners across the city getting the sign of the cross on their foreheads. Ash Wednesday is usually observed during a church service, but some busy New Yorkers just don't have the time so they got their ashes "to go."

"I am really busy and the church by me the services didn't match with my schedule," said Michelle Perrott.

Bob Foltz-Morrison, the executive presbyter of the Presbytery of New York City, said: "We have been moving for being so enclosed in the church to moving outside the church."

A number of Manhattan churches participated, hoping to reach out to those who are religious, spiritual, and everything in between.

The Christian holy day marks the beginning of Lenten season. Last year's Palm Sunday branches are burned, combined with oil, and marked onto people's foreheads.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan talked about the idea of "ashes to go" after mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

"That wouldn't be a part of our Catholic tradition the ideal is to receive ashes at mass like these thousands of people did today, or at least in church," the cardinal said.

Some say no matter where it happens, the message is the same.

"It's humbling to have people come to you, trust you to put ashes on their forehead, pray for them, and have a moment of sacred connection with each other," said Rev. Mieke Vandersall, the executive director of Presbyterian Welcome.

Rev. John Russelstanger of Presbyterian Welcome added: "We aren't trying to do something that replacing congregations but add to whatever Ash Wednesday can be in the city in 2014."

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