Ash Wednesday is a religious practice in the Roman Catholic faith meant to symbolize repentance and mourning after the persecution and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It also marks the beginning of the Lent season, when the faithful agree to give up something for 40 days in exchange for spiritual renewal.

The annual observance includes church services during which mass is celebrated and attendees' foreheads are marked with ashes in the shape of a cross. But not all Roman Catholics can make it to church on Ash Wednesday.

Thanks to technological advances and the Internet, Ash Wednesday masses are streamed across the world. The Vatican broadcasts its service live at 9:30 a.m. EST. To watch it online, courtesy of the CatholicTV Network, click here

An audio feed of the mass can be heard through the network’s Android and iPhone apps.

Bible Verses For Ash Wednesday

Here is a selection of Bible verses that reference the themes of Ash Wednesday, complied by the Gospel Herald:

2 Samuel 13:19 -- "And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went."

Matthew 6:16-18 -- "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

John 3:16-17 -- "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

To read more verses, click here.

A Prayer For Ash Wednesday

(Courtesy of Catholic Online)

“Jesus, you place on my forehead the sign of my sister Death: ‘Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’"

"How not hear her wise advice?  One day my life on earth will end; the limits on my years are set, though I know not the day or hour. Shall I be ready to go to meet you?  Let this holy season be a time of grace for me and all this world. "

"’Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.’ O Jesus, you place on my forehead the sign of your saving Cross: ‘Turn from sin and be faithful to the gospel.’"

“How can I turn from sin unless I turn to you?"

“You speak, you raise your hand, you touch my mind and call my name, ‘Turn to the Lord your God again.’"

“These days of your favor leave a blessing as you pass on me and all your people. Turn to us, Lord God, and we shall turn to you.”