Ash Wednesday draws W. MI worshippers to church

Ash Wednesday
A Roman Catholic parishioner is marked with ashes on Ash Wednesday at a service at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids. (March 1, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds of people who entered Grand Rapids’ Cathedral of Saint Andrew Wednesday left with ash on their faces.

The church marked Ash Wednesday with two masses for Catholic Central High School students and the public. Worshippers had their foreheads marked with ashes to usher in the beginning of the six-week Lenten season before Easter.

Ash Wednesday
Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids Bishop David Walkowiak (background) and Very Rev. John Geaney (foreground) distribute ashes during a service at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids. (March 1, 2017)

In Grand Haven, Rev. Jared Cramer and other leaders of St. John’s Episcopal Church once again offered “Ashes to Go” Wednesday morning for worshippers in a hurry.

According to the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, the act of placing an ashen cross on the head is rooted in the Old Testament as a call to repent, as well as a reminder of the body’s organic nature and the soul’s immortality.