Pope Francis presides over Ash Wednesday service


VATICAN CITY (CNN)– Pope Francis encouraged faithful Catholics to share their wealth during Lent.

The Pope reminded his audience that the 40-day period before the celebration of Holy Week is an open invitation to leave behind superficial notions.

Ash Wednesday is today.

It marks the first day of Lent in Western churches… The ashes symbolize penance and the dust from which God made people.

Lent, which lasts 40 days not including Sundays, is a season of prayer, penance and fasting in preparation for the Easter season.

The services for Ash Wednesday began with the penitential procession from the Church of Sant’Anselmo on Aventine Hill in Rome to the nearby Basílica de Santa Sabina.

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