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On Assignment: Catholics in Union City, N.J., observe Ash Wednesday

UNION CITY, N.J., MARCH 9, 2011 — Catholics receive ashes on their foreheads in observance of Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season for Christians around the world, at Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church on New York Avenue. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

After receiving ashes on their foreheads, parishioners give donations and pick out nails from a basket, symbolic of the nails which crucified Jesus Christ to the cross, which they will be returning to the church on Good Friday when the nails will all be hammered to a cross.

Churchgoers pray after receiving ashes (above and below).

These photos won second place in the New Jersey Press Photographers Association’s February 2011 Clip Contest for Feature/Multiple Pictures:

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