UPLAND, Calif. (KABC) -- The message is clear - Ash Wednesday is completely different this year. Southland churches are adjusting to mark the Christian holy day with COVID-19 safety in mind.
Saint Marks Episcopal Church in Upland has actually done the "ash and dash" format before. It was pre-COVID, meant to be an option to save people time. Now, it's their only choice.
"We have the opportunity to do it, so that's what counts," said Alina Toral of Rancho Cucamonga.
Parishioners received a bag decorated by kids from the preschool containing a full kit - including prayers and the ashes enough for a whole family.
"I have some of the girls at work that don't have time to come by and that would be great and my sons at home," Toral said.
Toral has seen firsthand how serious the pandemic ism and she's not alone in leaning on her faith.
"I take care of seniors at work so it's been tough. We've had loss. It's been a tough year," she said.
"It's not something we learned about in nursing school, it's not something we were prepared for," said Linda McBride of Ontario.
For so many, the changes made this year have not diminished the importance of this day - the beginning of the holy season.
"It's just a process of doing it, as long as we do do it, and are able to do it, I'm just grateful and blessed they are able to provide this for us now," said Mayra Perez of Rancho Cucamonga.
They just hope to be indoors by next year.
"We've got to get through it and we can do it together we always do it," Toral said.
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Ash Wednesday: SoCal churches mark holy day with COVID-19 safety in mind
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