Why Ash Wednesday?

The holy season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, when Catholics attend Church and receive black ashes on their foreheads in preparation to celebrate the mystery of the cross on Easter Sunday.

What is Lent?

The worldwide Church is about to embark on its annual 40-day retreat. The season of Lent, with its ashes, palms and purple vestments intermingled with sacred Scripture, begins March 1.

In preparation of the holy season, faithful pilgrims are marked with the greatest known Christian symbol in the world — the cross.

Using blessed ashes from burned palms, the cross is traced on the forehead on Ash Wednesday, symbolizing repentance.

Lent lasts for 40 days — excluding Sundays — from Ash Wednesday to the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, which this year falls on April 13. It is a reminder of Christ’s 40 days of temptation and fasting in the desert, and of Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the desert.

This penitential season of fasting, almsgiving and special prayer is like a spiritual cleansing and renewal to draw closer to God.

Read: Lent calls Catholics to deeper faith, stronger love, sacrifice

  • Get to Church!

    Find a church near you for Ash Wednesday, Confession and Adoration! Parishes

  • Questions and Answers About Lent

    Looking for answers? Review this list of frequently asked questions! USCCB

  • Fasting and Abstinence Guidelines

    What does the Church teach about fasting and abstinence during Lent? USCCB

  • St. Patrick’s Day Dispensation

    Can we or can we not eat meat on Friday, March 17? Learn more.

  • Upcoming Events

    See what’s happening around the diocese this week, this month, and this year! Upcoming Events