Lent begins - for billions

Lent begins - for billions

Lent begins - for billions

Ash Wednesday, a holy day, marks the start of Lent. The legend is that he uses his arrow to strike the hearts of people causing them to fall in love.

However, St Valentine's Day, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14.

But church leaders around the country said no such exception would be forthcoming when Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day overlap for the first time since 1945.

"We bring in people and try to make their special day even better", said Brian Neuens, owner and head chef at Bleu Restaurant and Lounge in De Pere.

However, the young Christians are in dilemma, whether to fall for the temptation of Valentine Day or go for fasting and repentance.

"We're very much into the senses - all five senses are involved in our services", he said.

Ash Wednesday gets its name from the ceremonial marking of one's forehead with ash, practiced on the opening of Lent.

So, couples might be out on a dinner and church date on Wednesday with what looks like dirt on their faces.

This college's Catholic Student Association will host an Ash Wednesday mass at 1 p.m. February 14 in the craft room of Loftin Student Center. In another quirk this year, Easter also happens to share the date - April 1 - with April Fools' Day. But Brown said fasting in the Catholic Church doesn't necessarily mean avoiding food altogether, but rather eating lighter and simpler fare. In view of the significance of Ash Wednesday, the obligations of fast and abstinence are naturally the priority in the Catholic community.

During Lent, many believers give up something they love, such as eating chocolates or other candies, as a way of replicating Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days. Priest marks the forehead of the churchgoers with ash in the shape of a cross as he says "Remember, you are dust, and unto dust you shall return".

Ash Wednesday is a popular day in the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar that draws large numbers of the faithful to area churches, said Judy Riopelle, director of faith formation at St. Francis Church.

"For Christians, Lent is the great period of preparation to welcome the Risen Jesus at Easter".

"It should not just end at this lent season". Lent season requires Christians to make a lot of sacrifices through fasting and doing good to others, especially for old and other needy people.

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