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MATTHEW BECK/Chronicle
Ash Wednesday takes place 40 days before Easter Sunday and begins the season of Lent, a time of spiritual preparation observed primarily by Catholics. St. Scholastica Catholic Church altar servers Angel Villacastin, left, Ann Martin and Michelle Dugan await the start of the church’s 10 a.m. Ash Wednesday service. On Ash Wednesday, people receive ashes made from blessed, burned palm branches, applied in the shape of a cross on the forehead. The ashes, a biblical symbol of grief and sorrow, today represent repentanc
Catholics celebrate the start of Lent

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