LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Ash Wednesday kicks off the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period between now and Easter. You may notice people with a cross of ashes on their forehead.

Ash Wednesday is a holy day and one of the most popular for church attendance. It has a message of repentance. 

Auxiliary Bishop Gregory Gordon with the Diocese of Las Vegas said every Ash Wednesday, Jesus teaches us to pray, fast, and give alms. 

He said Christians are called to spend 40 days modeling their lives after Jesus. 

“He resisted the evil one and he remained faithful to his heavenly father and that’s what he calls us to do,” Gordon said. “We have an ongoing call to conversion, but it is heightened and focused for us all for all in the Catholic church, for Christians everywhere in this holy season of Lent.”

He said the season is marked by going to mass, listening to the word of God, and receiving a blessing with the ashes in the sign of a cross on one’s forehead. He also said the ashes symbolize the cross’s power to lift people from sin to grace, from ashes to resurrection, which is the hope for Christ. 

Another tradition is no meat today, and none on Fridays during Lent too. 

The actual act of receiving ashes will be a familiar one. After a pandemic pivot of “ashes to go,” the Catholic Church is once again welcoming parishioners inside the church to receive ashes. Gordon said the church will not be doing “ashes to go” or “drive-through ashes” this year.

“Fortunately, we can say we’re celebrating Ash Wednesday in the normal, traditional way,” Gordon said. “We encourage all to go to mass.”

As far as receiving communion, there still is not a shared chalice. 

A full list of Ash Wednesday mass locations and times can be found on the Diocese of Las Vegas website