Lent begins with Ash Wednesday tradition

Posted Feb. 17, 2010, at 12:18 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:40 a.m.
(BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS)

CAPTION

Parishioner Jennifer Ross of Holden has ash smudged on her forehead by the Rev. Seamus Griesbach during Ash Wednesday services at St. John?s Catholic Church. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
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(BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS) CAPTION Parishioner Jennifer Ross of Holden has ash smudged on her forehead by the Rev. Seamus Griesbach during Ash Wednesday services at St. John?s Catholic Church. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)

BANGOR — Olivia Pellegrini on Wednesday morning left St. John Catholic Church with ashes on her forehead and a neon green colored cast on her right wrist.

Only one did she get at the York Street church.

Pellegrini, 13, of Holden and her grandmother, Patricia Martin, 66, of Bangor were among 300 people who attended the Ash Wednesday service.

“I usually give up something,” Pellegrini, who recently broke her wrist skiing, said after the service. “This year I think it will be soda.”

Pellegrini said she also intended to pray every night “to be close to God.”

Her grandmother, who attends Mass most almost every day, said she tries to sacrifice more in preparation for Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the Lenten season. It is a call to penance, prayer, alms-giving and sacrifice that ends with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter. That will be on April 4.

Wearing the ashes is a public sign of penitence, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. The ashes used in services are created by burning the palms used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. While ashes may be purchased through companies that sell religious supplies, many congregations prepare the ashes themselves.

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