A bowl of ashes in the sacristy before today's lunchtime Mass. Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the season of Lent. This is a season of penance, of repentance; we are encouraged to pray, to fast and to give generously to those in need. In this way we show our sorrow for our own faults, and find strength to turn back to God. The Cathedral was close to capacity at today's lunchtime Mass, as people came forward to have their foreheads marked with ash as a sign of repentance. Another Mass with distribution of ashes takes place at 7pm today.