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Living Our Faith: Lent begins: Ash Wednesday

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A great many Christians enter Lent with the firm intention of praying

A woman with a cross marked on her forehead looks on during Ash Wednesday Mass in 2014 in Manila, Philippines. On Ash Wednesday, it’s not hard to identify Catholics. The smudge of ashes in the shape of a cross on their foreheads is a solid giveaway. (CNS photo/Erik De Castro, Reuters)

in a more committed way and a conviction that prayer will open a path for them toward new life and hope.

Lent is a kind of a spiritual do-over, and Ash Wednesday — the starting line of Lent — is when the work begins.

How can parishes hold on to these Ash Wednesday Catholics? Give them opportunities to practice their Lenten call to prayer, fasting and almsgiving throughout the year.