Getting Ash Wednesday ‘ashes to go’

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Rector David “Kahu Kawika” Jackson of the Kapa‘a All Saints Episcopal Church and Preschool applies ash crosses to Rob and Jo Roy of New Jersey Wednesday during the Ashes to Go ministry.

KAPA‘A — Rector David Jackson of All Saints Episcopal Church was enjoying his first Ash Wednesday after assuming his post Feb. 1 in Kapa‘a.

Kahu Kawika, as he is known among the church members, was at the heart of the church’s Ashes to Go, a service where busy people can receive their Ash Wednesday blessings.

“We’re staying at the Kaua‘i Marriott Beach Resort, and we saw they had this service,” said Jo Roy, a visitor from New Jersey. “This made us drive out here just so we can get ashes.”

The trip yielded more than just Ash Wednesday blessings, as Jackson provided the couple with some historical ancedotes surrounding the church, as well an an invitation to tour the chapel containing artifacts from King Kamehameha and Queen Emma.

Ash Wednesday, according to online sources, is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting. It gets its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheards of participants to the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to ashes you shall return.”

“Referring to the Old Testament, when people felt sorry for something they did, they wore garments of sack cloth meant to irritate the skin, and ash,” said Jackson. “This was symbolic of remorse. But it also reminds me to value life because life is not forever.”

Jackson said ashes come from the palm fronds worshippers receive the year before.

“We burn those leading up to Ash Wednesday,” the rector said. “Then we mix the ashes with holy oil. Otherwise, they’d just dry and fall off.”

Ash Wednesday, falling on the first day of Lent, marks the start of six weeks of penitence before Easter. It was preceded by Shrove Tuesday, or more commonly observed in Hawai‘i as Malasada Tuesday, or Mardi Gras in other parts of the country.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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