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Roman Catholic devotees line up to receive smudges of ashes on their foreheads at the St. Augustine Cathedral yesterday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the period of Lent, one of the most important liturgical events for Roman Catholics as they prepare for Easter. (photo by Joey Nacalaban)

Catholics mark start of Lent

“REMEMBER man that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

These were the words uttered by Roman Catholic priests as they smudged the foreheads of religious devotees with ash to mark Ash Wednesday, exactly 45 days before Easter Sunday.

A Ronda Tanod member asks a woman to show what’s inside her bag while a police officer watches at an inspection area outside the St. Agustine Cathedral. (photo by Joey Nacalaban)

Yesterday, the predominantly Catholic country observed Ash Wednesday with reverence as Catholics visited churches as a reminder that “man comes from dust and to dust he shall return.”

Other Christian denominations that observe Ash Wednesday are the Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and some Baptists.

The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent wherein Catholics between the ages 18 and 59, but depending on one’s health condition, are urged to fast, and abstain from eating meat, and every Friday thereat during the Lenten period.

However, senior citizens are exempted from fasting. (PNA)

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