Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"A 40-Day Spring Training"

As ever, this Ash Wednesday marks the busiest day of the year for "the nation's parish" -- New York's St Patrick's Cathedral -- which traditionally sees some 60,000 of the faithful pass through its doors for a dozen Masses and services spread over 17 hours, the throngs climaxing at lunch.

To be sure, many of the crowd unable to stay take advantage of St Pat's unique set-up of "Ashes On-Demand," as ministers stand ready at the side-aisles of these shores' most-visited house of worship, distributing the burnt palm to anyone who shows up during the day, even as the liturgies proceed. And even during the quiet periods, the faithful (including, so they say, some non-Christians) still flood in, many of them taking advantage of the rare silence at the crossroads of the "capital of the world."

All that said, with the noontime lines stretching back to Madison Avenue and 50th St lined with barricades, the day's marquee Mass at midday will be celebrated by the city's archbishop -- now, of course, likewise the chief of the Stateside bench. Still, as if that crowd wasn't big enough for Tim Dolan, the Gotham prelate taped a video for Lent's launch that's being syndicated today through AOL:

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