EDWARDSVILLE - Ash Wednesday is always a special day across the world for people of faith and St. Boniface Church Father Jeff Goeckner said each Mass for the day was crowded.

“We did three Masses here at St. Boniface and one at Father McGivney,” Goeckner said. “We had big crowds at all three and the one at McGivney.”

Goeckner said Ash Wednesday means a lot to those who attend church on that day.

“I had people calling in and asking if they could swing by and get some Ashes, which was hard to respond to, but we get about 100 calls on Ash Wednesday here at church before we have the Masses,” he said. “

The Masses at St. Boniface were at 8 a.m., the there was a Word Service with Distribution of Ashes and a Mass again at 6:45 with ash distribution.

In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto foreheads of worshipers. Ash Wednesday and Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican churches and also by the Roman Catholics.

Father Goeckner said for the last distribution Mass, the church was full and “people were standing everywhere.”

“I read a survey somewhere where more people are attending Ash Wednesday services than they are on Easter,” he said. “I think it is about starting over and cleaning the slate. It is amazing when the church gives something free, everybody comes. In this case, it is the ash on the forehead.”

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