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Ash Wednesday: A time of ‘penance and conversion’ (Photos)

Rev. Ed McCarthy applies ashes to one-year-old Violet Rekow as her grandfather Keith Rekow waits during morning Ash Wednesday mass at Our Lady of Fatima on Wednesday morning in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Like Catholics around the world, the congregation of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Casper gathered March 6, 2019 for Ash Wednesday mass.

Pope Frances wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning: The Lenten journey begins today, Ash Wednesday. I invite each of you to live this time in an authentic spirit of penance and conversion, like a return to the Father, who awaits us all with open arms.

For the faithful, Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days before Easter and opens up Lent, the season of fasting and prayer.

According to the website Catholic Online, ashes are worn as a sign of penance. “Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance.”

The ashes are made from the palms from Palm Sunday the previous year.