With Ash Wednesday the great penitential season of the year begins.
This time of Lent is marked by three distinctive features:
1. It is a period for serious reflection on death and its issues, joined consequently, with prayer and works of mortification in imitation of our Savior's fast of forty days in the desert.
2. It is a time especially adapted to repentance and amendment of life, as in ancient days it was the season when the catechumens and penitents prepared for Baptism and absolution.
3. It is a prolonged vigil, fitting us to celebrate worthily the great week of the Passion and the Feast of feasts of the Resurrection. The services of Ash Wednesday comprise the blessing of Ashes, distribution of the Ashes, and Holy Mass.