Reasons Why Christians Fast During Lent

That's because those people have visited their churches on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

Fr. Charles Luis Jayme of the Archdiocese of Cebu told reporters that the faithful may do this by practicing good deeds and observing abstinence. Each year, the readings for Ash Wednesday are the same. It's an opportunity for Christians to partake in the tradition, as well as a chance for non-believers to ask and learn about the tradition, he said. "Perhaps Ash Wednesday is the most honest day our church year and that we really confront who we are in the world", said Pastor Wilder. "That's quite remarkable for an event that is designed exclusively around Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent".

"When I heard about the idea, I thought "I've got to do that" but I was so scared I nearly didn't do it", he said.

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Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the seventh Wednesday before Easter, and ends on the Thursday before Easter.

On Ash Wednesday, March 1, First Congregational Church of Fryeburg United Church of Christ will offer "Ashes to Go", a 21st century approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition. The men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes and wore sackcloth.

But rather than going into the church for a service, each motorist sat in their idling vehicle as Bower leaned down, led them in a personal prayer and then applied the traditional ashes to their foreheads. During Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penance. Sundays are holy celebrations of Jesus' resurrection, and are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent.

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"It's important to start Lent this way because it calls to mind the fact that we have room to grow", he said. There are five liturgies throughout the day - 7 a.m., noon, 5:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Ashes are distributed at each one.

"The big difference is instead of having to give up certain things like eating meat on Fridays, it is something that individuals choose to do on their own", Beagley said. With these ashes, the priest marks a cross on the foreheads, he stated.

"I think it's a wonderful way of coming outside the church walls and being with the people in the community who can't come in for whatever reason".

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