Archbishop Listecki holds Ash Wednesday Mass at Pius XI H.S.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki kicked off the first day of Lent with a Mass Wednesday morning. March 5th at the Pius XI High School gymnasium.  This is the fourth straight year he’s held the Mass in front of hundreds of students.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

Ashes placed on worshippers’ foreheads represent a public display of repentance.  The cross pattern in which the ashes are placed onto the forehead represents Jesus Christ.

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration from the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts.

Lent runs for 40 days, representing the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert.  The Lenten season ends on Easter, which arrives Sunday, April 20th.