HARVEY — Christians from various denominations around the world held mass today in observance of Ash Wednesday, signifying the beginning of Lent.

Ashes of palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are used to mark the foreheads of mass attendees at parishes like St. Louis the King Catholic Church in Harvey.

“The ashes remind us of our mortality and of our time to journey with Jesus to Calvary, and then to journey with Him to the bright light of Easter,” said Father Glenn Theoret, pastor at St. Louis the King. “So it’s a really sacred time for Christians. A time to reflect on our lives and to reflect our relationship with Jesus.”

For Father Theoret, this Ash Wednesday was unique, as it was his first as pastor at St. Louis the King.

“This is a wonderful parish, it’s a very spirit–filled parish — a lot of young families — and so [it’s] really alive, and it really gives me a new vibrancy in my role as a pastor,” Father Theorte added. “So it’s a very special time for me to begin my first Lent here at St. Louis the King.”

The celebration of Lent continues until the Thursday before Easter. The forty days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert according to the gospels.