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AshWednesdayTwo750Norwich distribution of ashes marks start of Lent

On Ash Wednesday priests across the Diocese of East Anglia placed ashes on the foreheads of parishioners to mark the beginning of the season of Lent.

At St John's Cathedral in Norwich, Bishop Alan Hopes was the main celebrant of the Ash Wednesday evening Mass, and led the blessing and distribution of ashes, using the words: "Repent and believe the Gospel."

"Along our journey we are called to enter into a relationship with God," he said in his homily. "Over the next six weeks the Church calls us to accompany Jesus on His journey.

"To start the ball rolling," the bishop proposed, "choose one of the Gospels and just read a short passage each day...There is so much joy and peace in knowing and discovering God's presence.

"If something has gone wrong in a relationship with someone, Lent is a time to seek healing and reconciliation."

Bishop Alan encouraged his listeners to "make a space for themselves" and at the same time to engage in prayer, fasting and giving. "Friday is a good day to miss a meal altogether," he suggested.

"May the Lord," he concluded, "grant us all a faithful and fruitful Lent."

Pictured above is Bishop Alan distributing ashes at St John's Cathedral in Norwich.

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