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Ash Wednesday services

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Many people will have ashes on their foreheads Wednesday, March 5.  While it's inevitable that someone will tell them they have a some dirt or a smudge on their face, Catholics participating in Ash Wednesday will have to explain the markings.  People receive ashes on their forehead by clergy on Ash Wednesday.  The clergy member typically offers a prayer and marks a cross on the face of the person giving repentance.  It is a centuries-old religious practice.

Ash Wednesday marks a 40 day period of fasting, known as Lent.  You may hear of people giving up meat, caffeine, alcohol or social media until Easter.  The time represents the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.

A fairly new tradition in today's busy lifestyle is the "drive through" services.  Churches offer the congregation an easy way to start their time of prayer and abstinence.  Clergy members from St. Junia United Methodist Church and Alabaster First United Methodist Church are providing quick prayers and ashes to people who don't even have to get out of their vehicles.  People can drive up to the church, get a prayer and be given ashes before heading into work.

You don't have to be Catholic to receive prayer and ashes.  Most congregations welcome everyone.

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