Ash Wednesday in Chicago

Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent, a 40-day period for Christians to reflect, pray and fast before Easter.

Commuters lined up at Metra stations and some CTA L stations to receive ashes on their foreheads Wednesday as Christians marked the beginning of Lent.

Lent is a 40-day period for Christians to reflect, pray and fast before Easter. The ashes of burned palms are placed in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of believers as a symbol of repentance.

A coalition of churches will also observe Ash Wednesday by launching a “40 Days of Peace” campaign in Pilsen. The coalition, known as the Pilsen Faith Table Initiative, is calling on all churches, businesses and residents to be “peacemakers” in the neighborhood.

Bernadette Gibson, director of pastoral care at Old St. Patrick’s Church, said people at Union Station were re-engaging with the practice this year as worries and restrictions over COVID-19 have eased.

Gibson said last year people were “sketchy about being touched.”

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