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Inland bishop celebrates Ash Wednesday at university, prison

By in Press Enterprise on February 15, 2018

By Staff report

The annual journey began with the swipe of a thumb.

Gerald Barnes, bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino, rubbed ashes on the foreheads of Catholics on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the University of Redlands.

University of Redlands student Paola Antonio, 21, smiles as she greets fellow students after receiving ashes from Bishop Gerald Barnes on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The custom marks the start of Lent, the season of penance and reflection for Catholics and other Christians that ends on Easter Sunday. The faithful often sacrifice a favorite food and abstain from meat and fast on certain days during Lent as they spiritually prepare themselves for Easter.

Clad in purple, Barnes celebrated Mass and distributed ashes to university students, staff and faculty in the early afternoon. Later, he celebrated Mass with female inmates at the federal prison in Victorville.

University of Redlands student Vanessa Contreras, 18, listens to Gerald Barnes, bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino, during a Wednesday, Feb. 14, Mass on campus.Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNGUniversity of Redlands student Vanessa Contreras, 18, listens to Gerald Barnes, bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino, during a Wednesday, Feb. 14, Mass on campus.

ABOUT ASH WEDNESDAY

What it is: The day marks the start of Lent, a season of reflection and repentance for Catholics and other Christians.

The day’s customs: Catholics abstain from meat and fast to mark the day. They also may receive a smudge of ashes on their forehead at a church service.

Why ashes?: Believers have ash rubbed on their forehead in the shape of a cross to symbolize repentance. The ashes are also an acknowledgement of one’s mortality.

What’s Lent?: The season is meant to imitate Jesus’ preparation for his ministry, when he prayed in the desert for 40 days. Believers often sacrifice a favorite food or activity […]    

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