Holly Bonner wasn't planning on anointing anyone with ashes Wednesday. The newly ordained Chaplin conducts most of her duties remotely since she is fighting bone cancer. But when an essential workers at Moretti Bakery asked, Bonner gloved up and obliged. "If annointing somebody with ashes that their insistence upon makes them feel better, I'm happy to do that," Bonner said. "Very overwhelming," said Cinzia Leon, describing how she felt receiving the ashes.. "And we're very appreciative to Holly and her family."
Bonner is a blind mother of two and an accessibility advocate. She and her guide dog, Frances, are also making sure two hundred essential workers can mark the beginning of Lent. That included delivering ashes to the staff at a medical facility in West Brighton and homebound seniors. "I want people, especially during COVID, to be able to feel like they can participate in it.... everybody," Bonner said. She also packaged 175 small containers filled with ashes and prayer cards for people to pick up from her mailbox.
One woman, who was picking up ashes for a few family members was overcome with emotion. "It's such a blessing," she said. "I'm going to cry."
"We're trying to bring faith to people in this midst of chaos that we're in, um, by allowing them to kind of hold onto those traditions that they've been missing," Bonner said.
It's also the start of a new tradition for Bonner. She now plans to packages ashes for first responders and those in need every year.