BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. Eleven-year-old Angela Torricella of Briarcliff Manor said she was happy to go to church Wednesday.
Its the beginning of the Lenten season and Im glad I went, Angela said, adding that she was proud to have the smudged cross drawn on her forehead in ashes. It shows others that were proud to be followers of Jesus.
Hundreds of Westchester Christians flocked to church on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season that ends 40 days later with the celebration of Easter. Ossining resident Michelle Friedel said she was also happy to go with her children to the Parish of St. Teresa in Briarcliff Manor Wednesday.
It shows who we are so we remember whats important, Friedel said. Were happy to do it.
St. Teresa Rev. Msgr. James Vaughey explained the tradition is a sign of penance and recognition of a need for forgiveness. While he said he was pleased with Wednesdays turnout, Vaughey noted that the crowds were smaller than what he saw in Briarcliff Manor 20 years ago.
I think the community responded very well today, Vaughey said. This is a very solemn day for Catholics around the world. But I think in general there has been an erosion of the faith across the board. Its really everywhere so it means a lot that weve held strong here.
Vaughey said he would continue to extend knowledge and offer services to the public to help make faith stronger.
We try to encourage the growth of the faith throughout the year, he said. I think its important that people know were here to offer those that need it a chance to reflect on their lives and to grow their faiths stronger.
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