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Ash Wednesday Launches Lent Season

Catholics and some Protestants begin a 40-day period of reflection and repentance.

Fat Tuesday is over. Make way for ashes, abstinence and changes of heart.

In Catholic and Protestant churches around Orange County and the world, Ash Wednesday services mark the beginning of Lent, the 40-day liturgical season leading to Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

It's a time for personal reflection, acts of sacrifice and new beginnings, church officials say.

"The term Lent comes from the Old English word for 'spring' and Christians see these days as a time for changes of heart, personal repentance and an openness to the grace of a fresh beginning," according to a statement from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

At noon in Holy Family Cathedral in Orange, Bishop Kevin Vann will celebrate his first Ash Wednesday as the newly installed head of the Diocese of Orange.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Vann said: “The announcement of Pope Benedict’s retirement and the election of a new Pope by Easter adds great significance to this Lenten season. ... Ash Wednesday truly will be a season of new beginnings and reflection for Catholics worldwide.”

JustUs February 13, 2013 at 05:58 PM
The rituals that human beings go through never cease to amaze me. How is this much different than putting a bone through one's nose? The more things change, the more they stay the same. But to each his own. They tell me that it's a free country.
Alicia Nguyen February 14, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Lent reminds us of how fragile we are as human and from dust we come and ash we shall return, that is a fact!
JustUs February 14, 2013 at 02:49 AM
That's fine, Alice. I respect your beliefs. I just commented that rubbing ash on a person's forehead is really not much different from the rituals that primitive people did back in the caveman days and that the more things change, the more we stay the same. And that is very true. And I didn't come from dust. I came from sperm and egg. So there I think you're wrong. Have a nice evening.
Nancy February 14, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Stardust, JustUs. I suggest you watch something besides Tattoo Wars at night and turn on Nova. Last night's show illuminated the amazing connectedness we have to sun spots, fires, plankton, etc. Alicia is right.
JustUs February 14, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Nancy, and I suggest you pick up a book from the late and famous anthropologist Ashley Montagu and read about how the human species has not really evolved much in an anthopological sense since the days of the cave men when man started walking on 2 instead of 4. And the ritual of rubbing ash on a person's forehead only substantiates this highly educated man's viewpoint based on fact. Enjoy the rest of your day.
Darelene Carpenter February 15, 2013 at 12:52 AM
JustUs, it's simply a symbol and a reminder of our humanity. Truly surpised to read this stream. Humans have many rituals, why is this one so controversial? P.S. I'm highly educated too and do not see that as a justification to ridicule. I am enjoying my day, thank you.
JustUs February 15, 2013 at 01:38 AM
"JustUs, it's simply a symbol and a reminder of our humanity." Darlene, I said nothing out of disrespect. If you want ash stained on your forehead, more power to you. I simply remarked that it is just another strange ritual that humans have participated in ever since man began to walk on 2 feet. And that it's very interesting how, in some ways, humans aren't much different than we were back then. I enjoy anthropology and that's the reason that I mentioned it. Personally, I would not let some other human being rub ash into my forehead. But if you enjoy it, do it as much as you want. I couldn't care less. I get reminded of of our humanity everytime I drive on the street and encounter rude and inconsiderate drivers. I don't need ash to remind me.
Darelene Carpenter February 15, 2013 at 06:29 AM
JustUs, I can see that you do enjoy anthropology and human behavior is a most interesting subject after all. From my own personal point of view, I see more good than bad in the things we do. There're always the exceptions though...we're only human after all.
JustUs February 15, 2013 at 06:35 AM
" I see more good than bad in the things we do." Darlene, good. Congratulations. You're an optimist. I hope you live until you're 130.

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