Photo Gallery: Christians receive ashes in a variety of ways

Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the period of penance and fasting preceding Easter.

(RNS) Many Christians found a way to observe Ash Wednesday (March 1) in spite of busy schedules. Some churches accommodate parishioners’ hectic schedules by distributing ashes in ways other than at traditional services. RNS found people seeking ashes in church, in parking lots and in coffee shops. Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the period of penance and fasting preceding Easter.