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Ash Wednesday drive-through attracts hundreds during morning rush hour

Hundreds of people have attended an Ash Wednesday drive-through in Ireland.

Queues of drivers during the busy morning rush hour waited to receive ceremonial ashes on their foreheads in Glenamaddy, Co Galway.

The sign of Catholic repentance marking the start of Lent, a season of abstinence and preparation for Easter, is common-place in the US but innovative in Ireland.

Parish secretary Breda Keaveney said: "It was just so reverent and so respectful. There was just a wonderful atmosphere."

Catholics traditionally receive the blessing at this time of year at a special Mass service.

This year, parish priest Father Paddy Mooney said the church opened the drive-through blessing to help families who were unable to attend Mass.

It targeted the sick, those with difficulty walking, people on their way to work or families enroute to school.

A driveway led right past the front door of the church.

Ms Keaveney said there were also two Masses for people to receive ashes.

She said: "We were trying to reach people on the go and for some reason not able to attend Mass.

"We are very, very pleased."

Parishioners will review the event to consider whether to repeat it in future years.

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