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updated: 3/5/2014 5:01 PM

Ashes mark Christians for beginning of Lent

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  • The Rev. Robert Braband leads the Ash Wednesday service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard as Christians begin Lent, a season of repentance and reflection before the celebration of Jesus' rising from the dead on Easter.

       The Rev. Robert Braband leads the Ash Wednesday service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard as Christians begin Lent, a season of repentance and reflection before the celebration of Jesus' rising from the dead on Easter.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • The Rev. Robert Braband marks Catherine Knapp of Lombard with ashes in the shape of a cross during Ash Wednesday service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard.

       The Rev. Robert Braband marks Catherine Knapp of Lombard with ashes in the shape of a cross during Ash Wednesday service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • The Rev. Robert Braband places ashes on the forehead of Cindy Hollibaugh of Northlake during an Ash Wednesday service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard.

       The Rev. Robert Braband places ashes on the forehead of Cindy Hollibaugh of Northlake during an Ash Wednesday service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

Christians across the area and around the world marked the beginning of Lent by attending Ash Wednesday services to receive a visible reminder of their human mortality in the shape of a cross made out of ashes.

The symbol of a cross drawn on the forehead is meant to invite Christians to reflect on their mortality and repent their sins as they begin the season before Easter, which celebrates the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead.

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Churches such as Holy Trinity Lutheran in Lombard gathered members for morning services to impose ashes, while other churches scheduled services during the day and in the evening. Several churches took the dispensing of ashes outside worship center walls, offering "Ashes to Go" on commuter train platforms.

No matter the setting, as a cross is drawn, priests traditionally leave ash recipients with the blessing "remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

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