The current global pandemic got you missing Ash Wednesday? No worries, there’s an app for that.

Today is Ash Wednesday, ushering in the Lenten season when Christians worldwide observe and celebrate by giving up and fasting, both from food and festivities.

Ash Wednesday is significant to Christians because the ashes symbolize both death and repentance. The day also marks the start of the Lenten season, where observers reflect and prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter.

While tradition includes attending mass and receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday, many devout Christians will not attend services due to the ongoing pandemic this year.

Churches in El Paso have had to cancel in-person services for months; however, some churches are now opening with limited capacity, and some are even distributing ashes this year.

For faithful El Pasoans who cannot attend church this year, a couple of apps are available to observe Ash Wednesday virtually and safely.

Apps like AshTag on Facebook and Instagram and the recent Ashes at Home filter on Instagram by The Church of England allow users to take a photo with the filter overlays of a black ash cross by choosing the filter icon.

This isn’t the first time that religion and social media have come together. Other apps have been around for a while, such as the Magnificat Lenten Companion, which is designed to inspire daily prayer, liturgy, and meditation.

While a virtual smudge of ash might be weird and not quite the same as the real thing, the apps encourage prayer and meditation, which is ultimately what the Lenten season is all about.

 

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