Posted: Wednesday, 05 March 2014 4:57AM
Ash Wednesday marks an abrupt end to Mardi Gras
It's unlikely that any city in the country undergoes a transformation like the one that occurs in New Orleans on Ash Wednesday.
The party's over. And, for area Catholics, it's a switch from feasting to fasting.
It all came about at midnight.
"We have left the world of make-believe, which is always a fun world to be in for Mardi Gras, and we're back to the world of reality," says New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
For area Catholics, that reality is the forty days of Lent, "symbolizing the forty days that Jesus, himself, was fasting and praying in the desert," says Aymond.
Listen to Don Ames' conversation with Archbishop Aymond about Ash Wednesday and Lent:
"Ash Wednesday is the beginning of our Lenten season, and it's a time in which we prepare to worthily celebrate the death and the resurrection of Christ during Holy Week."
And, of course, it ends with the Easter celebration of His resurrection.
Archbishop Aymond says Lent is more than just a time of doing without something.
"We fast and pray and do acts of charity...good deeds, in order to purify ourselves."
He suggests identifying one attitude or action that God would want us to change or adjust in our lives.
"Identify just one thing," he says. "It's too hard to identify more than one thing for Lent. It's only forty days."