Ash Wednesday, February 22, is the beginning of Lent, the start of the Fish Fry season, as well as the first day in preparation for Easter, where we celebrate Jesus’s death and resurrection. But what is the true meaning and importance of Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Church? Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance when we, as Christians, confess our sins and profess our devotion to God. During Holy Mass, the Priest places ashes on a person’s forehead, symbolizing both death and repentance, in the shape of a cross. The Priest then says one of these two phrases: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The phrases speak to us with humility and exaltation, of death and new life. The ashes signify our inner fragility and poverty, while the cross signifies our salvation in the mercy of God. On Ash Wednesday, we are called to fast and abstain from meat with the exception of the elderly, young children and infirmed.

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