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Ash Wednesday observed across Garo Hills marking beginning of Lent for Christians

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TURA, Feb 14: Thousands of Christians, primarily Catholics, across the Garo Hills marked the start of the holy season of Lent by observing fasting and abstinence and attending special church service to commemorate Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent- which is six weeks of penitence before the celebration of Easter. It is observed by Catholics, Lutherans, Moravians, Anglicans, as well as by some churches in the Reformed, including Methodist and Nazarene traditions.

In Tura and other parts of Garo Hills, Catholics observed this religious event by receiving ash marked with the sign of the cross on their foreheads during church service. The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations.

The priest places the ashes on the forehead of the faithful with the words, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

At the Sacred Heart shrine in Tura, Auxiliary Bishop of Tura Rev C J Jose led the faithful in prayer and blessing of the ashes.

In his homily he spoke of the significance of Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent which is a time for the faithful to pray and follow abstinence from the luxuries of life.

Catholics in Garo Hills observed Ash Wednesday by fasting and abstinence from meat. Fasting is also undertaken during Good Friday and most devotees will abstain from meat and food on all Fridays of the Lent season. Some devotees observe fasting every day of the Lent season, breaking it only after sunset for a light meal.

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