Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Catholics mark Ash Wednesday today

Catholics mark Ash Wednesday today

Christians will observe Ash Wednesday on February 14, signaling the period of 40 days before Easter, called Lent, when Jesus Christ journied into the desert praying and fasting after he was baptized.

Boxes of chocolates and flowers are reportedly among the most common gifts exchanged besides the billion cards.

Receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday marks the traditional start of Lent, and is observed by many many faiths including Roman Catholics, as well as Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and some Baptists.

Many will celebrate both holidays today.

Ash Wednesday which marked the beginning of the period of Lent began with Christians across Pakistan fasting.

In Chicago, Catholic leaders said Valentine's Day could be celebrated on the Tuesday before.

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The lent season commemorates the 40 days that Jesus Christ fast and resisted temptations from the devil.

It is a time of reflection and of asking for forgiveness, and when Christians prepare to celebrate Jesus's resurrection at the feast of Easter, which comes at the very end of Lent.

On this day, devout chant the words: "Repent, and believe in the Gospel", and "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return".

On Ash Wednesday Christians mark the occasion by making cross on the forehead with the ash. "It gives way to our need to purge ourselves to grow closer to God through prayer, scripture, and self-denial", the church said in a press release.

"It's what brought us together".

"There's never a bad time to celebrate your love for someone", she said.

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Instead, they suggest you move your Valentine's Day celebration to the day before or day after Ash Wednesday.

This is the fifth year the Episcopal Church offered the service.

Today, Deacon plans to enjoy a fish fry at home with her fiancée, Jess Schneider, who grew up Catholic.

According to catholic.org, the ashes may be removed once service is done.

Other couples will avoid the clash of fasting and indulging altogether.

Whatever you decide to do, it will be good practice for the future: Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day will share the same date again in 2024 and 2029, the CARA blog said.

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The Rev. W.R. Harris of the Proto Cathedral of St. James the Greater said that while people make sacrifices for the Lenten season, it shouldn't necessarily impose on Valentine's Day.

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