3/9/2011- Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN -  Emilia Flores prays after receiving ashes at an Ash Wednesday service at Cristo Rey Catholic Church on Wednesday March 9, 2011.

“The sign of the cross we wear on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday is not there only one day a year.  It is the cross that is burned on our foreheads by the fire of the Holy Spirit to mark us as God’s own lambs in Baptism.  We show it once a year to remind ourselves that we belong to God.  We remind ourselves that we die, daily, to sin.  We remind ourselves that Jesus’ resurrection is our future.  We will return to dust, but God is not finished with us.  We renew the Baptismal covenant of God in this season of repentance, renewal, and rejoicing.  We all will be cleansed in the Vigil’s Baptismal Flood.”

—L. Bouman