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On Ash Wednesday, LA faithful begin the solemn season of Lent – Daily News

Across the Los Angeles region, Christians are observing the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday — the day after “Fat/Shrove Tuesday” or Mardi Gras in some cultures — marks the official start of the solemn 40-day season of Lent: a time of deep prayer, repentance and sacrifice in the Christian faith, that leads to Easter. Many Catholics, evangelicals, Lutherans, and other Christian denominations traditionally observe the day with fasting, tithing, and abstaining from meat or other luxuries.

As part of Ash Wednesday, Christians receive symbolic ashes on their forehead in the shape of a cross. The act is meant as a sign of penance. In the Roman Catholic Church, individuals are told by ministers, as the black ashes are applied to their foreheads, “Turn from sin and live the Gospel.”

  • Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an...

    Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an act of penitence Rev. Dylan Littlefield holds Ash Wednesday on, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an...

    Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an act of penitence Rev. Dylan Littlefield holds Ash Wednesday on, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. “I’m a safe place for them when they feel they can’t go to their case manager,” says Littlefield, of Chapel of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Pasadena. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an...

    Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an act of penitence Rev. Dylan Littlefield places ashes on resident Jaime Franco on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. “I’m a safe place for them when they feel they can’t go to their case manager,” says Littlefield, of Chapel of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Pasadena. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Rev. Marsha Harris Pastor of the Central Lutheran Church...

    The Rev. Marsha Harris Pastor of the Central Lutheran Church in Van Nuys speaks to Danny Friedman as she waits to place ash on the foreheads of people along Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys, during the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an...

    Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an act of penitence Rev. Dylan Littlefield holds Ash Wednesday on, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an...

    Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an act of penitence Rev. Dylan Littlefield holds Ash Wednesday on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. “I’m a safe place for them when they feel they can’t go to their case manager,” says Littlefield, of Chapel of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Pasadena. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ricardo and Andrea Bermudez, of Costa Rica, receive ashes from...

    Ricardo and Andrea Bermudez, of Costa Rica, receive ashes from Rev. Dylan Littlefield as he holds Ash Wednesday on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an...

    Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an act of penitence Rev. Dylan Littlefield places ashes on Paula Elisa Ulloaperez on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where she came to fill out a move in application. “I’m a safe place for them when they feel they can’t go to their case manager,” says Littlefield, of Chapel of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Pasadena. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG) is

  • Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an...

    Marking the beginning of Lent and encouraging self-care as an act of penitence Rev. Dylan Littlefield holds Ash Wednesday on, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Marking the beginning of Lent florist Michelle Alvarez heads to...

    Marking the beginning of Lent florist Michelle Alvarez heads to her apartment on Main Street after she received ashes from Rev. Dylan Littlefield on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Marking the beginning of Lent Mish Kiedes receives ashes from...

    Marking the beginning of Lent Mish Kiedes receives ashes from Rev. Dylan Littlefield as he holds Ash Wednesday on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 outside the Hotel Cecil in Skid Row where he has been doing pastoral counseling. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

L.A. Archbishop José H. Gomez reminded the faithful on social media“These forty days of Lent are a journey to the cross, where Jesus once again wants to speak to our hearts.”

  • Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo...

    Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach administers ashes for Ash Wednesday Feb. 14, 2024. Christians observe Ash Wednesday ushering in the 40-day season of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seeking spiritual renewal through prayer, discipline and good works. (Contributing photographer Chuck Bennett)

  • Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo...

    Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach administers ashes for Ash Wednesday Feb. 14, 2024. Christians observe Ash Wednesday ushering in the 40-day season of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seeking spiritual renewal through prayer, discipline and good works. (Contributing photographer Chuck Bennett)

  • Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo...

    Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach administers ashes for Ash Wednesday Feb. 14, 2024. Christians observe Ash Wednesday ushering in the 40-day season of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seeking spiritual renewal through prayer, discipline and good works. (Contributing photographer Chuck Bennett)

  • Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo...

    Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach administers ashes for Ash Wednesday Feb. 14, 2024. Christians observe Ash Wednesday ushering in the 40-day season of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seeking spiritual renewal through prayer, discipline and good works. (Contributing photographer Chuck Bennett)

  • Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo...

    Pastor Michael Meyers of St James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach administers ashes for Ash Wednesday Feb. 14, 2024. Christians observe Ash Wednesday ushering in the 40-day season of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seeking spiritual renewal through prayer, discipline and good works. (Contributing photographer Chuck Bennett)

Gomez encouraged followers to “practical idea we all can practice: being more intentional about being kind to other people. We need to start what (Pope Francis) calls ‘a revolution of tenderness’… Imagine what the world would be like, what our lives would be like, if we were all working to be more tender, more kind, treating others with patience and understanding, beginning with the people in our lives.”

“This is what our world needs. This is what every heart needs more than anything.”

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