Church Services announced for Ash Wednesday

On Wednesday, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers.

Here are the Ash Wednesday Services in Vermilion Parish today:

• St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Abbeville will hold Ash Wednesday services at 6:30 a.m. and 12:05 p.m.

• St. Theresa Catholic Church in Abbeville will give ashes after each Mass at 12:10 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Maurice will hold services at 6:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• Our Lady of Lourdes Church in

Erath will hold services at 6:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Kaplan will hold services at 6:30 a.m. and 12:05 p.m., and St. Francis Cabrini will hold a service at 5:30 p.m.

• St. Anne Catholic Church in Cow Island will hold services at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., while Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pecan Island will hold at service at 12 p.m.

• St. Peter Catholic Church in Gueydan will hold a service at 8:15 a.m.

• Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Leroy will a service at 6 p.m.

• Our Lady of the Lake in Delcambre will hold services at 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. A service will be held 12:10 p.m. at St. Martin DePorres in Delcambre.

Where do the ashes come from?

The ashes consist of burned palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service. The ashes are blessed by a priest or pastor.

Why do people receive ashes?

Ashes are viewed throughout Christian history as a symbol of humility and sacrifice for those who wear them.

In earlier times, Christians who committed serious sins did public penance. As part of this, they were sprinkled with ashes and required to wear sackcloths. In later years, penitents were also turned away from their place of worship for the entire season of Lent until Holy (Maundy) Thursday, by which time they had atoned for their sins. Eventually all Christians came to receive ashes in acts of devotion as well.

Why do people fast on Ash Wednesday?

While Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, it is the start of one of the most important seasons in the Christian liturgical year. Since fasting is an integral part of the Lenten season, it is strongly encouraged, and even required, of most Christian worshippers on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics and members of some other denominations also abstain from meat on all Fridays during Lent.

How long does Lent last?

Lent (also referred to as the Great Lent in Orthodox Christian traditions) is the period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (Pascha), and lasts six and a half weeks. The final week of Lent is called Holy Week; during this period, observant Christians reflect specifically on the last days of Jesus Christ’s life. During Lent, Christians purify themselves by praying, fasting, repenting of their sins, and making changes and sacrifices in their lives.


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