Ash Wednesday rituals tweaked amid ongoing pandemic

Ash Wednesday traditions saw alterations across Long Island due to the pandemic, with houses of worship opting for contactless ways of smudging ashes.
Christians across Long Island received ashes, however instead of the traditional sign of the cross on the forehead, clergy sprinkled the ashes on top of heads.
Saint Francis parishioners in Greenlawn say it didn't matter how the ashes were given, it was all about faith and repentance and preparing for the holy season of Easter.
Deacon Jim Byrne believes it was a fitting way to enter the season.
"There are things we changed because of the pandemic, and we have to just get used to it for the time being," says Byrne.
Besides limiting contact by not placing the ashes on the parishioners' foreheads, safety protocols were in place like wearing a mask, social distancing and capacity limits.
Some other Christian churches even handed out bags of ashes to their parishioners.