We had a great turnout last evening for the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper at St. Andrew's, so thanks to all who came to share a meal and especially to all of those amazingly efficient Girl Scouts who serve as the wait staff for this annual event. They were particularly amazing this year, I thought.
As the official dispenser of filled plates, It was my observation that more people were eating more pancakes this year (it's an all-you-can-eat for a free-will donation event; all proceeds to the Ministry Center Food Bank).
The individual record was four pancakes (and these were not small cakes). Orange juice was more popular than usual, too, I thought --- at least we went through a lot of it; a few more customers and I'd have had to dash through the snow drifts to the hospital parking lot where I'd left in the truck a reserve supply I was sure we wouldn't need but brought along just in case.
Today is Ash Wednesday; the first time since 1945 when Valentine's Day and the commencement of Lent collide --- feast or fast? The brief Litany of Penitence and imposition of ashes begin at 6 p.m. at St. Andrew's; at other times in Chariton's Catholic and Lutheran churches.
And if you happen to be among those who work in downtown Des Moines, I noticed in my feed from the Cathedral Church of St. Paul this morning that "Ashes to Go" will be available from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the sidewalk in front of the cathedral, 815 High Street in the shadow of the Principal tower. If you prefer a more formal setting --- inside the cathedral at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.
Wherever and whenever, it's a lovely and for many highly meaningful ritual --- open to all.