Christians around the world observed Ash Wednesday.
Worshippers gathered at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Meridian.
The symbol of the cross placed in ash on the forehead is a reminder of one's need for God.
Lent is a season of prayer and penance. Church leaders say the ceremony is a way of remembering their need for forgiveness from their sins.
"Because all of us are called to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ," said Father Frank Cosgrove, leader of Meridian's Catholic community. "And we do that in two ways. By turning away from sin and turning toward God as we put it (the cross) on your forehead. And that's part of the prayer with the ashes, as we put it on your forehead today. The form is 'turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel'."
During Lent, believers are encouraged to give up something important to them or to add a positive activity to deepen their spiritual life.