(CNS photo/Marcin Mazur, Catholic Church England Wales)

Ash Wednesday, March 2 marks the beginning of Lent for Christians throughout the world, and today Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez will be the main celebrant and homilist at the 12:05 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia.

Additionally, Pope Francis has announced that March 2 will be a “Day of Fasting for Peace” for Ukraine, saying, “I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”

Lent is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday in preparation for the celebration of the sacred Paschal Triduum and the Easter season.

At parishes throughout the Philadelphia Archdiocese — see a listing of all the parishes here — blessed ashes will be distributed to the faithful at all the Masses, reminding them to repent and believe in the Gospel as the Lenten season begins.

Mass at the cathedral will also be celebrated at 7:15 a.m. (Chapel) and 5:15 p.m. (Basilica).

In addition to the celebration of Mass with the distribution of ashes, there will be celebrations of the Word of God and the distribution of blessed ashes in the hospitals and nursing facilities within the parish boundaries on Ash Wednesday.

The Cathedral Parish will offer the sacrament of penance and reconciliation on weekdays at 11:30 a.m. (Basilica), Saturdays at 4:15 p.m. (Basilica) and Sundays at 9 a.m. (Basilica), 12 noon in Spanish (Chapel) and 5:30 p.m. (Basilica).

Parishes throughout the archdiocese may have alternative dates and times for this sacrament in addition to regularly scheduled times.

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Watch Mass from the cathedral today at 12:05 p.m.: