GRAMERCY PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- For Lent, one Manhattan church created a prayer plaza where people can leave handwritten notes on purple ribbons. They thought they would have a few -- but now they have thousands.
People of all ages have put very touching messages on the ribbons at the Church of the Epiphany on 22nd Street and Second Avenue in Gramercy Park.
What started with one purple ribbon, the color traditionally associated with Lent, morphed into thousands, far exceeding everyone's expectations, including Father Austin Titus.
"It's a visible reminder or prayer and what we should be doing especially during these 40 days," he said.
Some are for families and sick relatives, others for Parkland shooting victims. Some are in different languages.
"You begin to see the difficulties that some people are going through, the burdens they are carrying, the illnesses, anxieties, depressions, not only with themselves, but in their families as well," said Father Titus.
Father James Mayzik came up with the idea, which has proven to reach far beyond religion to a much deeper place.
How do we become more human and help others? We're just not robots or computers," Father Titus said. "We have a heart, and we're expected to use that."
The church plans to take these down after Lent, but it was so successful, it may make it a year-round installation.
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Manhattan church's prayer ribbons inspire thousands, not just religious