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Southern Californians take part in Ash Wednesday (Photos)

Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Father Jay Cunnane offers communion to a parishioner during an 8 a.m. Ash Wednesday mass at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Encino. Ash Wednesday - 40 days before Easter - marks the beginning of Lent, the most solemn time on the Christian calendar.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Parish members shake hands with their neighbors during the "Kiss of Peace" portion of the mass.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Parishioners pray during an Ash Wednesday service at Our Lady of Grace, a Roman Catholic church in Encino that's part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Father Jay Cunnane blesses the communion bread and wine a morning mass for Ash Wednesday. Of five services throughout the day, the 8 a.m. service is his parish's most-attended mass on the first day of Lent.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
An altar server leads congregants to the front of the church for communion.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Christians around the world wear ashes on their foreheads in the shape of a cross during Ash Wednesday. The ashes are meant to symbolize mortality.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
A student of Our Lady of Grace listens during an 8 a.m. mass at his school's parish church.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Mary Ann Laccabue, a staffer at Our Lady of Grace School, attends 8 a.m. mass for Ash Wednesday at the school's parish in Encino on Feb. 13. The parish offered two morning services, a noon prayer service, and two evening services, including a Spanish-language mass.
Father Jay Cunnane distributes communion to students at Our Lady of Grace School, next door to the church. There will be a 5:30 p.m. service today and a 7:30 p.m. Spanish service at the parish in Encino.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


Father Jay Cunnane distributed ashes to hundreds of parish members for Ash Wednesday today during an 8 a.m. mass at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Encino.

This Roman Catholic parish holds five services today, including one at 7:30 p.m. in Spanish. On the Christian calendar Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, lasting 40 days before Easter. Cunnane said the 8 a.m. service is the most-attended mass, before children head to school and adults head to work.