Ash Wednesday Services In The Southland

ARCADIA, CA — Christians throughout the Southland will observe Ash Wednesday Wednesday, ushering in the 40-day season of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seeking spiritual renewal through prayer, discipline and good works.

Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of penance. A minister or priest marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the shape of a cross.

In the Roman Catholic church, individuals are told as the ashes are applied to their foreheads, "Turn from sin and live the Gospel."

The Rev. Jose H. Gomez, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, will celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at noon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The Mass will be streamed live on http://facebook.com/olacathedr... and www.olacathedral.org/live

"We are invited on Ash Wednesday to remember our mortality," Gomez said. "We are invited to remember that we are only here on this Earth for just a little while and then we are gone. We are dust. And to dust we will return.

Catholics observe Ash Wednesday by fasting, abstaining from meat and repenting. Other Christian denominations make fasting optional, with the main focus being on repentance.

In Orange County, Catholics will venture to Ash Wednesday mass for special services, Wednesday. From San Juan Capistrano's Mission Basilica, with services following the Holy Day Mass schedule, Laguna Beach's St. Catherine of Siena, with Ash Wednesday Mass at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. (Spanish), and across the County.

Episcopal churches in Orange County will also celebrate Ash Wednesday mass, from Rancho Santa Margarita's St. John's Episcopal Church with a 7 p.m. mass. to St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Anaheim and beyond.

"St. John's will have two Ash Wednesday services on February 14. Plan to be with your church family either at Noon or 7 p.m. for Holy Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes," the church said. "The St. John's choir will join us for the evening service."

The Rev. Jose H. Gomez, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, will celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at noon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The Mass will be streamed live on http://facebook.com/olacathedr... and www.olacathedral.org/live

Mass will be also celebrated at the cathedral in English at 6:15, 7 and 8 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. and at 7 p.m. in Spanish. A bilingual Liturgy of the Word will be celebrated at 3 p.m.

Ashes will be distributed during all services. There is a flat $10 parking fee at the cathedral Wednesday.

"So it is an invitation to truly live as God wants us to live -- with joy and love and trying to grow in holiness and share God's mercy and compassion to others. I pray that these 40 days will be a beautiful time of prayer and renewal for the whole family of God."

Photo: Ashley Ludwig, Patch Staff

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