Ash Wednesday and the Economy

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email

PHENIX CITY, ALABAMA (WTVM) - Giving up something may seem like the last thing you want to do these days.

But as Catholics around the world worship on Ash Wednesday, the idea of sacrifice matters now more than ever to some.

The parking lot is full and the pews are packed at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Phenix City.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, church members will sacrifice something, from chocolate to smoking, in observance of their faith during Lent.

Despite a tough economy, giving is still the gospel this year, at least according to Helen Green.

"I just feel like people are willing to give to the Lord, because the Lord gives things to us everyday, all his blessings, and I just feel like people are willing to give, especially to people in need," Green said.

Local priests worry that with a down economy, the concept of giving may turn to ashes...especially in a time when so many have given up or lost, so much.

"We never have a collection. I thought of doing it today, though, because so many people are coming to us. It's a little different this Ash Wednesday, in that, we have more people coming in asking for help than I've ever had," Father Tom Weise said.

While some may have lost a job or even their home, their faith cannot be tested.

"I'm an optimist. I have a lot of hope. I think the change is going to be good, I think the change that's coming is going to be good. It's going to take a while, though," Father Weise said.

The bottom line, more people are looking to the church for help.

But at least, for now, people are still giving too.