The church was full of people from all ages, Elderly, Middle-Aged, Adults, Families, and many many Young Adults and Youth.
There was so many people that there wasn't enough room to sit and they kept coming in the doors. Where were they all coming from? There were so many faces that I had never seen before.
Ash Wednesday isn't even a "Holy Day of Obligation," meaning, Catholics are not required to attend.
Yet, They came in droves.
The Catholic faith is alive and well on the east side of Redding, at least at Our Lady of Mercy Parish.
People from multiple generations and cultures all participated in the traditional ceremony of the blessing and application of the ashes, receiving the ashes in a penitential manner, as well as participated in the Holy Mass.
What a refreshing site, to see so many alive for their faith, seeking comfort and meaning in their lives.
Seeking understanding and forgiveness.
As I applied the ashes to their foreheads and spoke the words "Turn away from Sin and be faithful to the Gospel," for so many it brought immediate tears to their eyes.
They connected with a holiness that can only come from God.
You could tell that there was hurt, struggle, and for some probably guilt, but they were there to repair the relationship with God.
For so many, tonight was a night to begin anew, to reestablish a relationship with God, with the One, the only One who can heal and bring comfort and rest to our souls.
What a wonderful and miraculous night.......