By CAROL FERGUSON
Christians around the world will begin the observance of Lent with Ash Wednesday services this week.
Pastors will use ashes to mark the foreheads of the faithful with the sign of the cross while repeating the scriptural message, “Remember, thou art dust and unto dusts thou shall return.”
The ashes come from burning the palm fronds saved from the previous year’s Palm Sunday services.
Lent lasts 40 days, not counting Sundays, and it commemorates the 40 days when Jesus fasted nd prayed in the wilderness. Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism for converts, and then became a time of penance for all Christians.
The Lenten season culminate in the remembrance of the Crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday —April 18 this year — followed by the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 20.
The following churches have scheduled Ash Wednesday services:
• St. William’s Catholic Church, 4300 Stuart, 7 a.m. Mass and imposition of ashes; scripture readings and imposition of ashes at 8, 9, 10, 11 a.m., 12, 12:30 p.m., and then every half-hour through 7:30 p.m. Both Catholics and non-Catholics may receive ashes.
• Central Christian Church, 2611 Wesley, 5:30 p.m. service.
• St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 8320 Jack Finney, imposition of ashes at noon and 6 p.m.
• Redeemer Lutheran Church, I-30 at Highway 69, 6:30 p.m. joint service with United Presbyterian at Redeemer.
• Kavanaugh United Methodist Church, 2516 Park, 6:30 p.m. service in the chapel.
• Salem-Kinser United Methodist Church, combined service with Floyd UMC, 7 p.m. at Floyd.
• Wesley United Methodist Church, 5302 Highway 69 South, 6:30 p.m. service.
• Westview United Methodist Church, 6407 Sayle, 6:30 p.m. service.
• United Presbyterian Church, 6:30 p.m. joint service at Redeemer Lutheran Church.
• Floyd United Methodist Church, Business 380, 7 p.m. service with Salem-Kinser, at Floyd.
• St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1508 Cooper, Commerce, Masses at 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
• Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Quinlan, 2 p.m. scripture readings and imposition of ashes.