Ash Wednesday Marks Beginning of Lenten Season
The ashes represent the dust from which God made humankind. As the priest or lay person applies ashes to a parishioner’s forehead, they recite, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The ashes also represent the grief caused by sinning and a division from God.
The ashes are made from burning blessed palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday commemoration. Lent lasts 46 days and culminates on Easter Sunday — April 1 this year.