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Ash Wednesday Marks Beginning of Lenten Season

February 14, 2018
Today marks the start of the Lenten season and a time of fasting, penance and prayer for Christians. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of fasting and penance.

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.

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  • Ash Wednesday service in Merrimack's Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel in Austin Hall.
    Ash Wednesday service in Merrimack's Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel in Austin Hall.

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