The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw on Feb. 18. To mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, Catholics receive ashes on their foreheads as a sign of repentance and mortality. The ashes come from blessed palms that were distributed last year on Palm Sunday and later burned.
The Church emphasizes the penitential nature of Lent and Catholics who are between the ages of 18 and 59 are called to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meaning they should eat only one full meal and two smaller meals without eating between meals. Also, all who are 14 and older are called to abstain from eating beef, pork, poultry and food made from animal fat on those days and all Fridays during Lent.