Ash Wednesday celebrated at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier – Whittier Daily News

Ash Wednesday returned to Southern California on March 2, and with the gradual easing of COVID-era mandates, most churches were offering indoor services this year — although many continued to hold outdoor ceremonies, and most continue to stream Mass via live stream for higher-risk worshippers.

  • Deacon Mike Freeman, left, administers the ashes to a parishioner, after another parishioner received his blessing during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022 (Photo by Alex Gallardo, collaborating photographer)

  • A parishioner after receiving ashes during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

  • Melissa Cortez, center, takes her family to holy water to leave the church after receiving ashes during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022 (Photo by Alex Gallardo, collaborating photographer)

  • A parishioner after receiving ashes during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

  • Deacon Mike Freeman, left, administers the ashes to a parishioner, after another parishioner received his blessing during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022 (Photo by Alex Gallardo, collaborating photographer)

  • Sophia Cortez looks on after receiving ashes during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

  • Parishioners after receiving ashes during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

  • Deacon Mike Freeman, left, administers the ashes to a parishioner during an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

  • Minister Sue Rubick, right, and Deacon Mike Freeman, second from right, administer ashes to parishioners during an Ash Wednesday service at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, collaborating photographer)

  • Deacon Mike Freeman presides over an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

  • Deacon Mike Freeman presides over an Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

  • Minister Sue Rubick, right, and Deacon Mike Freeman, second from right, administer ashes to parishioners during an Ash Wednesday service at St. Bruno’s Catholic Church in Whittier, Wednesday, March 2 2022. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, collaborating photographer)

Catholics in Whittier celebrated Ash Wednesday at St. Bruno Catholic Church, as well as other places of worship.

Bishop José H. Gomez celebrated a bilingual Ash Wednesday Mass — English and Spanish — on Wednesday, March 2 at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a 40-day religious season of fasting, penance and reflection that spiritually prepares Christians for the joyful resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. The imposition of ashes applied in the form of a cross on the forehead symbolizes mortality, the need to repent of one’s sins and change one’s conduct.

The Archbishop of Los Angeles, José H. Gomez, told the faithful to focus this Lent on “certain elements essential to our spiritual growth – daily examination of conscience, regular confession, prayer for others and the practice of mercy and tenderness”.

“Ask the Holy Spirit to help you review the day — the blessings you received, the good you did during the day, and the ways in which you sinned or failed,” Gomez wrote in his weekly column in the Archdiocesan multimedia publication Angelus News.

“Thank God for the good, tell Him you’re sorry for your failures, and resolve to improve. Praying for others every day is another important habit we need to develop. It helps us grow in compassion and become less selfish and self-centered.

“And our prayer must be accompanied by our actions. This is why during Lent, I urge that we become more intentional in practicing tenderness.

The service at the cathedral was streamed live on the cathedral’s Facebook site (facebook.com/olacathedral) and website (olacathedral.org/live). It was also available to watch at facebook.com/lacatholics.

During the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years, the ashes have been applied with a cotton ball or cotton swab, sprinkled on the head, placed in the hand for the participant to apply, or the ashes have even been mailed to parishioners of some churches. There was also the imposition of drive-through ashes or take-out ashes on street corners, often in lieu of in-person services.

Easter is April 17 this year for most Christians.

Eastern Orthodox Christians, however, begin observing 40 days of Great Lent on “Clean Monday” on March 7. They celebrate Easter on April 24.

City News Service contributed to this report

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