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.