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PHOTOS: Ash Wednesday

10:06 AM, Feb 23, 2012   |    comments
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Marked with a cross of black ash on the forehead, Catholics pray during an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. One of seven Ash Wednesday services at the cathedral, the noontime mass was packed with worshippers, leaving many to stand in the back and the aisl
  • Pope Benedict XVI (R) walks in a procession from Sant'Anselmo basilica to Santa Sabina basilica before leading the Ash Wednesday service on March 9, 2011 in Rome. Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40 day period of Lent. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 06: Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Sabina Basilica on February 6, 2008 in Vatican City. Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40 day period of Lent; encouraging prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving, leading up to Easter. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
  • CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 09: A parishioner prays during the midday Ash Wednesday Eucharistic Liturgy presided by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago at Holy Name Cathedral February 9, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Cardinal George blessed ashes and participated in their imposition. The ashes remind the faithful of the need to do penance for sin and to seek spiritual renewal by means of prayer, fasting and good works. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22: New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan speaks to the media before joining fellow volunteers in distributing food at a breadline at St. Francis Assisi on Ash Wednesday on February 22, 2012 in New York City. Dolan, just back from Rome, was among 22 Catholic churchmen who were elevated to cardinal Saturday by Pope Benedict XVI . (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the mass for Ash Wednesday in Rome's Santa Sabina church on February 22, 2012. The ceremony opens Lent, the forty-day period of abstinence and deprivation for the Christians, before the Holy Week and Easter. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Catholic faithfuls participate in a mass during the celebration of Ash Wednesday in El Calvario Parish in San Salvador, El Salvador on February 22, 2012. Ash Wednesday marks the Christian period of Lent, prior to the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/ Jose CABEZAS (Photo credit should read Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 25: Members of the congregation attend a mass on Ash Wednesday February 25, 2004 at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, DC. Hundreds of people attended the mass to mark the Ash Wednesday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  • MIAMI, UNITED STATES: Dana Domond holds her daughter Veronica as she receives the sign of the cross with ashes on her forehead from Fr. Seamus Doyle during the Ash Wednesday service at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church 25 February 2004 in Miami, FL. AFP PHOTO/Robert SULLIVAN (Photo credit should read ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 09: A child wears an ashen cross on her forehead at an interfaith Ash Wednesday service to pray for the future of Iraq and call for an end to U.S. military actions there on February 9, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. The service was attended by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists who oppose the war in Iraq. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
  • BOSTON, UNITED STATES: File photo 13 February, 2002 shws Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law conducting an Ash Wednesday service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Massachusetts. Law, under increasing pressure to step down, is accused of ignoring complaints that priests in the Archdiocese of Boston were pedophiles. Cardinal Law resigned 13 December, 2002 in a meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, saying he begged 'forgiveness' for shortcomings in his handling of a serie
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Cardinal Donald Wuerl (C) marks a cross with black ash on the forehead of a Catholic worshipper during an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. One of seven Ash Wednesday services at the cathedral, the noontime mass was packed with worshippers, leaving many to
  • CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 09: Parishioner Ricardo Cuevas prays at the alter prior to the midday Ash Wednesday Eucharistic Liturgy presided by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago at Holy Name Cathedral February 9, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Cardinal George blessed ashes and participated in their imposition. The ashes remind the faithful of the need to do penance for sin and to seek spiritual renewal by means of prayer, fasting and good works. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
  • LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Richard Garcia wear an ashen cross on his forehead at an interfaith Ash Wednesday service to pray for the future of Iraq and call for an end to U.S. military actions there on February 9, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. The service was attended by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists who oppose the war in Iraq. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
  • ROME - MARCH 5 : Pope John Paul II spreads ashes, a symbol of repentance, on the head of a priest during the Mass for Ash Wednesday celebrated at Santa Sabina church, March 5, 2003 in Rome, Italy. The pontiff asked Catholics to pray and fast for peace. (Photo by Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)
  • ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 22: Pope Benedict XVI sprays holy water as he leads the Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Sabina Basilica on February 22, 2012 in Rome, Italy. Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40-day period of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving leading up to Easter. (Photo by Giancarlo Giuliani-Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
  • ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 22: People gather at mass as Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Sabina Basilica on February 22, 2012 in Rome, Italy. Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40-day period of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving leading up to Easter. (Photo by Giancarlo Giuliani-Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
  • A Catholic faithful participates in a mass during the celebration of Ash Wednesday in the Bacilica of Guadalupe, in Mexico city on February 22, 2012. Ash Wednesday marks the Christian period of Lent, prior to the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/JOHAN ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 22: Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Sabina Basilica on February 22, 2012 in Rome, Italy. Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40-day period of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving leading up to Easter. (Photo by Giancarlo Giuliani-Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Cardinal Donald Wuerl (R) marks a cross with black ash on the forehead of a Catholic clergy member during an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. One of seven Ash Wednesday services at the cathedral, the noontime mass was packed with worshippers, leaving many
  • ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 22: Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Sabina Basilica on February 22, 2012 in Rome, Italy. Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40-day period of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving leading up to Easter. (Photo by Giancarlo Giuliani-Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
  • ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 22: Pope Benedict XVI blesses as he leads the Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Sabina Basilica on February 22, 2012 in Rome, Italy. Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40-day period of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving leading up to Easter. (Photo by Giancarlo Giuliani-Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Cardinal Donald Wuerl (C) greets worshippers after an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. One of seven Ash Wednesday services at the cathedral, the noontime mass was packed with worshippers, leaving many to stand in the back and the aisles of St. Matthew. (P
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Cardinal Donald Wuerl delivers a sermon during an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. One of seven Ash Wednesday services at the cathedral, the noontime mass was packed with worshippers, leaving many to stand in the back and the aisles of St. Matthew. (Pho
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Marked with a cross of black ash on her forehead, a Catholics woman prays during an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. One of seven Ash Wednesday services at the cathedral, the noontime mass was packed with worshippers, leaving many to stand in the back and
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Cardinal Donald Wuerl precedes out after an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the 40-day penitential period before Easter when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. One of seven Ash Wednesday services at the cathedral, the noontime mass was packed with worshippers, leaving many to stand in the back and the aisles of St. Matthew. (Photo by Ch
  • A Catholic faithful is seen during the celebration of Ash Wednesday in the Bacilica of Guadalupe, in Mexico city on February 22, 2012. Ash Wednesday marks the Christian period of Lent, prior to the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/JOHAN ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A child has her forehead marked during the celebration of Ash Wednesday in the Bacilica of Guadalupe, in Mexico city on February 22, 2012. Ash Wednesday marks the Christian period of Lent, prior to the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/JOHAN ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Catholic faithfuls participate in a mass during the celebration of Ash Wednesday in the Bacilica of Guadalupe, in Mexico city on February 22, 2012. Ash Wednesday marks the Christian period of Lent, prior to the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/JOHAN ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
    
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Pope Benedict led a solemn service to mark the start of the Roman Catholic Lenten season on Ash Wednesday

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