A celebration is usually not in order when something is burned to ashes, but the students and staff of St. Bede School in Ingleside would disagree.
The 264 students and their teachers participated in St. Bede's annual palm burning ceremony in preparation for Ash Wednesday. One-year-old palms were collected and burned Tuesday morning to be used in the Catholic church's four Wednesday services.
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On Ash Wednesday, many Christians will receive ashes on their foreheads in the sign of a cross. St. Bede Principal Kathy Petroshius said the students go through the solemn celebration of Ash Wednesday every year. They each received a palm branch at last year's Palm Sunday Mass and returned the branch for Tuesday's burning.
"It's a time in which we are to follow Christ and live our lives as Christ did. It is also a sign that we are beginning the Lenten season," she said.
Deacon Larry Spohr led the outdoor burning celebration and was assisted by the eighth grade students. The excitement of the younger students increased each time the fire consumed the branches inside the kettle.
"We know our lives are limited," Spohr said. "There will be a time for us to leave this world. We return to ashes. We walk with ashes reminding others we are Christians, that we have a belief and faith in God."