PITTSBURGH (AP) — The bishop and priests of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh were marking the beginning of Lent with “ashes to go” at several nontraditional locations, in hopes of reaching people who cannot, or would not feel comfortable, attending an Ash Wednesday service at church.

Bishop Dorsey McConnell will distribute ashes from about 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Market Square, an open-air gathering place popular with the city’s downtown luncheon crowd. Other priests will distribute ashes outside a church in the city’s Shadyside business district, and at a light-rail train station in the suburb of Mount Lebanon.

READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Another Round Of Snow Expected Overnight Into Thursday Morning Commute

Some Protestants, and all Catholic churches, distribute ashes on the forehead as a sign of repentance and renewal as the 40-day season leading to Easter begins.

READ MORE: Jalen Hurts Expected To Be Philadelphia Eagles' Starting QB In 2022: 'He Knows He's Our Quarterback'

The ashes are available to people regardless of their denomination.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Man Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison After Convicted Of Sending Racist, Misogynistic Threats To Philadelphia Police Commissioner Outlaw