On this Ash Wednesday, many Christians headed to church for a special blessing. But for those who did not have time, there was a new alternative in Charlottesville: a program this year called "ashes to go".

"We will be dust, and to dust we shall return,” said Reverend James Richardson, rector at St. Paul’s Church.

Pastors in Charlottesville hit the streets, bringing an Ash Wednesday blessing to passers-by.

"We decided to kind of go to where the people are for Ash Wednesday since not everybody can make it to church in the evening or early in the morning,” said Cass Bailey, pastor at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Five episcopal churches came out for the event. This is the first year the churches have taken part in the program, which is becoming a nationwide trend. And several people were glad they were there.

Gretchen Ellis, Received Ash Wednesday Blessing: {22:16:53}

"My church doesn't have a service until 7 tonight, and so this was a convenient way to get my ashes and break my fast,” said Gretchen Ellis.

Richardson says, if nothing else, they'll at least jog people's memory.

"We want to remind people that it's Ash Wednesday and hopefully they might bring something inside them to renew their faith,” he said.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Christian holy season of Lent, which leads up to Easter.

Pastor Cass Bailey says he wants to remind people that Lent is a time to slow down and reflect.

"Maybe it's the beginning of taking the next 40 days to think a little bit more reflectively and to maybe make some changes if that's necessary,” he said.

But he also wants to make sure those who live fast-paced lives are blessed just the same.