1. What is Lent?

Lent is the 40-day period before Easter, which the Church uses to prepare for the celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

  1. What is the duration for the period of Lent?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day on which the faithful have their foreheads signed with ashes in the form of a Cross. It ends at noon on Holy Saturday. The 40 days excludes the five Sundays of Lent.

  1. Why do Catholics have their foreheads marked with a cross on Ash Wednesday?

In the Bible, a mark on the forehead is a symbol of a person’s ownership. When a person’s forehead is marked with the sign of the cross, this symbolizes that the person belongs to Jesus Christ, who died on a Cross. This symbolic action is done in imitation of the spiritual mark or seal that is put on a Christian in baptism, when he is delivered from slavery to sin and the devil, and made a servant of righteousness and Christ (Rom. 6:3-18). It is also in imitation of the way the righteous are described in the book of Revelation: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” (Rev 7:3). So the sealing with the cross means we have been marked for God and are ready to make a covenant with God for 40 days.

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