Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics, but this year, the day also falls on Valentine's Day, when many people share dinners and sweets with loved ones.
Abby Kousouris went to find out how people are handling the day's double traditions.
Father William McIntyre is a priest at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. He says that Ash Wednesday is a very meaningful time for the church, and this year, it falls on Valentine's Day. He says that people can definitely celebrate both. “We have to eat less than normal and no alcohol and, of course, no meat, but not lobster. Ash Wednesday supersedes Valentine's Day on our liturgical calendar, but there is still a way to celebrate your relationship.”
He said that anyone of goodwill can receive ashes. He has an interesting analogy for Ash Wednesday and what it means as the start of Lent. “Think of it as an athlete who is going to perform at a meet. She is not just going to show up and perform, she’s going to do a lot of preparation,” said McIntyre.
For many Christians, Lent means giving up something or doing something to strengthen their connection with God. Cindy Daniel said that she is committing more time to reading scripture, while her husband Mark Daniel said that he is giving up chocolate.
Nicole Stallworth and her 11 children went to Ash Wednesday Mass. She said her children get to choose what they give up for Lent, but she is also trying to get them to give back. They will be carrying change boxes during Lent. They said they we’re going to be putting coins into the box and giving that money back to the church.