New Hartford Priest Offers “Drive Through” Ashes


On Ash Wednesday, a time for Christians to both reflect and repent, most people look for God in Church. Not the parking lot of a pizza restaurant.

But Wednesday afternoon, on the corner of Oxford Rd. and Genesee St., Rev. Joel Szachara of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is bringing ashes to the streets.

“I decided four years ago that I was going to try it,” Szachara said. “So I went down to the corner and it ended up being in the Italian Chef parking lot and it’s been there ever since.

The priest is trying to reach the people who won’t be in the pews for Ash Wednesday service.

“People are talking much more these days about being spiritual,” she said. “Being spiritual is still a way for people to connect with God.” 

And it’s now a tradition she plans on continuing for years to come.

“It’s such a simple thing to do for folks,” she said.  “I think it’s just representing God for folks in such a way that touches their heart that so important these days.”

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