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Ash Wednesday service held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury

SALISBURY — An early Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church quietly ushered in the season of Lent on Wednesday morning.

Church members gathered in the sanctuary at 8:30 a.m. for the church’s second Ash Wednesday Mass, singing hymns and listening to scripture readings by students from Sacred Heart Catholic School.

At the altar, the Rev. Lucas Rossi blessed a bowl of ashes, made from fronds from last year’s Palm Sunday, and invited parishioners forward. Rossi dipped his fingers into the ash and drew a smudged cross on the forehead of each one.

The cross would remain on their foreheads all day as a symbol of faith and a blessing.

Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, a 40-day period leading to Easter Sunday. Those who observe the season often choose to give up something in order to draw closer to God. It can be food, an object or an activity; a Lenten fast is only limited by imagination.

The season is celebrated by a number of area churches.

Rossi reminded parishioners Wednesday that Lent is a season of generosity and repentance.

“I do not love anything more than God. Therefore, I let it go,” he said.

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