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Diocese to celebrate Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent

Ash Wednesday begins the worldwide Christian season of Lent, a 40-day period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. 
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas will be the celebrant and homilist for Ash Wednesday Mass at 5:30 p.m., February 26 at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo. Ash Wednesday will also be observed at the 7 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Cathedral Masses, as well as at various times at all parishes throughout the Diocese of Toledo. 
During the Ash Wednesday Mass, foreheads are marked with ashes in the sign of the cross as the faithful hear "Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return" or "Repent and believe in the Gospel." The ashes are made from burning the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. Parishioners are encouraged to bring the palms to their parishes before Lent for this purpose. The ashes are blessed with Holy Water before being imposed on the faithful on Ash Wednesday. 
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. The norms for fasting oblige all persons, from age 18 until 59 years, to refrain from eating meat and to take only one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Two smaller meals may also be eaten, but not to equal a full meal. The norms for abstinence from meat apply to all persons older than 14 years of age. Fridays in Lent are also days of abstinence. 
The Diocese of Toledo will also participate in The Light is On, a national effort to encourage Catholics to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, priests in parishes across the Diocese will be available to hear confessions. Scheduled times and locations may vary due to local circumstances. Faithful may consult their local parish for the schedule. 
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The Diocese of Toledo, established April 15, 1910, encompasses 8,222 square miles in a mixture of urban and rural areas and spans 19 counties across Northwest Ohio, serving approximately 320,000 Catholics in 122 parishes. The Diocese includes Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot counties.