Excelsior’s St. John the Baptist marks Ash Wednesday to usher in Lenten season

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church began the season of Lent on March 1 with an Ash Wednesday service in Excelsior.

Ash Wednesday officially starts of the Lenten season that lasts 40 days and nights. This 40-day period signifies Jesus’ time spent fasting in the desert, where Christians believe he fasted and was tempted and resisted Satan. Ash Wednesday is observed by many Western Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics.

During the Ash Wednesday service, the leader of the church places palm tree ashes on parishioners foreheads to signify the start of Lent. As parishioners receive the ashes the minister says, “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return,” that reminds Christians of their mortality.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church's Father Alex Carlson places an ash cross for Ash Wednesday on March 1 in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer) A St. John the Baptist parishioner receives an ash cross on Ash Wednesday March 1 in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer) St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Deacon Gary Hoffman gives a parishioner a ash cross during the March. 1 Ash Wednesday mass in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer) A St. John the Baptist parishioner receives an ash cross on Ash Wednesday March 1 in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer) St. John the Baptist Catholic Church's Father Alex Carlson Deacon Gary Hoffman gives a parishioner a ash cross during the March. 1 Ash Wednesday mass in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer) St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Deacon Gary Hoffman gives a parishioner a ash cross during the March. 1 Ash Wednesday mass in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer) A St. John the Baptist child parishioner receives an ash cross on Ash Wednesday March 1 in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer) St. John the Baptist Catholic Church's alter boys at the March. 1 Ash Wednesday mass in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer)
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St. John the Baptist Catholic Church's Father Alex Carlson Deacon Gary Hoffman gives a parishioner a ash cross during the March. 1 Ash Wednesday mass in Excelsior. (Sun Sailor staff photo by Paige Kieffer)