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Churches observe Ash Wednesday, start of Lent
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Several Ash Wednesday Masses and scripture services are being observed at St. Anthony of Padua in Manteca and St. Patrick’s Church in Ripon. Ashes will be distributed during each service.

At St. Anthony of Padua on East North Street, Masses today are at 7 and 9 a.m. in English, at 8 p.m. in Spanish, with a Scripture service which is not a Mass starting at noon. The Masses in English at St. Patrick’s will be at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., with the Mass in Spanish at 7 p.m., and the Scripture service at noon. St. Patrick’s, which serves the communities of Ripon, Escalon, and Farmington, is located on East Highway 120, corner Carrolton Road.

Ash Wednesday, which begins the 40-day season of Lent leading up to Holy Week and culminating with Resurrection Sunday or Easter, is one of two days of fasting in the Catholic Church. The other is Good Friday. Fasting means all Catholics age 18 to 59 should eat only one full meal and two lighter meals during the day. Abstinence also is observed on these days as well as on every Friday during the entire season of Lent, when all Catholics over the age of 14 should abstain from eating meat.

In many parishes including St. Anthony of Padua in Manteca and St. Patrick’s in Escalon, lent is the time for Soup Mondays. Soup is served free to everyone in the evenings, with the food donated by volunteer parishioners. Guests are asked to bring bread and drinks to accompany their soup meal.