FLORENCE, S.C. -- Christians began preparing for Lent, which is the six weeks of penitence before Easter, on Wednesday.

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, meeting at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church at 3123 W. Palmetto St., was among the churches worldwide participating in Ash Wednesday.

The service included a sermon, scripture reading, songs, communion and the distribution of ashes rubbed in the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the worshipers. The Rev. Phil Emanuel was the priest in charge of the service at St. Catherine’s.