SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Hundreds of people packed Saint Mary’s Catholic Church for Ash Wednesday.
Families gathered to make their yearly pilgrimage to start Lent.
This holiday marks the first day of the 40 days of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter.
Ash Wednesday focuses on the believers' heart on repentance and prayer, usually through personal and communal confession.
"Ash Wednesday for me is the start of lent as a child I was raised here so every year it’s something spiritual that I like to come here," said church member Leo Quintanilla.
Saint Mary’s had an open ceremony today at 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Organizers of the church say both sessions were packed with visitors.