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San Diego's Ash Wednesday events see changes during pandemic

Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 14:45:28-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Traditionally Ash Wednesday masses are held inside of a church, but this year because of COVID-19 guidelines, many parishes like Corpus Christi in Bonita decided to hold mass outside.

Under tents, parishioners were still able to celebrate the beginning of the Lenten season with masks and seating spaced out for social distancing. But the location of the mass wasn’t the only change this year. Because of the pandemic, even the way ashes were given was different.

Bishop Robert McElroy said this year, physical distance and increase sanitation measures are being taken.

"This year is going to be different because usually, the Priest uses his finger to put the ashes. But, this year here at the Diocese of San Diego we're going to do a q-tip swab. A different swab for each person because of the COVID issues," McElroy said.

Though there are changes to the traditional Ash Wednesday Mass, parishioners ABC 10News spoke with say they’re just thankful they can still participate in such a significant day in their faith.

"These changes, we have to abide by to be safe. This past year has been trying so I’m just very thankful for today," said Kathy Tscherch.

Corpus Christi’s Pastor Efrain Bautista believes faith is something many are holding onto to get through this challenging time.

"Right now in the midst of this pandemic people are really searching and looking for God," Bautista said.