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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Trojans Celebrate Ash Wednesday

Catholics at USC and across Los Angeles received ashes on their forehead to mark the start of the Lenten season.

Catholics celebrated Ash Wednesday as they began to prepare for Easter through through prayer, fasting and charitable works.

At USC, the Caruso Catholic Center held Ash Wednesday services at 12pm, 5:30pm and 7pm. Some of the events are the Liturgy of the Word and Distribution of Ashes. The Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic ministries at USC joined together for this annual recognition of the start of the Lenten season.

In Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose Gomez held Mass throughout the day at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Mass was offered in both English and Spanish.

Many Catholics draw a cross of ashes on their forehead as a sign of repentance. 

Catholics are encouraged to fast and observe abstinence on Ash Wednesday, according to Contemporary Roman legislation.

Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation Monday, celebrated Ash Wednesday with his final public mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

Early Wednesday, the Pope tweeted that "during the season of Lent which begins today, we renew our commitment to the path of conversion, making more room for God in our lives."

President Barack Obama referred to Ash Wednesday as a day of both reflection and joy, saying "as we enter Lent, we join millions in renewing our faith and remembering our commitment to love and serve one another."

Lent ends with the Celebration of Easter.

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