San Antonio Catholics observe Ash Wednesday

Faithful choose to abstain from something for 40 days

SAN ANTONIO – Now that Mardi Gras is over, it is Ash Wednesday, which is observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations.

It's a sign of sacrifice during Lent, when people give up things for the 40 days leading up to Easter.

Lent is intended to be a time during which people think of others over themselves.

All Christians observe Lent, a time of self-denial, moderation, fasting and becoming closer to God.

For many outside San Fernando Cathedral, one of the most difficult parts of Lent is choosing what to give up.

"I’ve been a Catholic all my life. A lot of people do it and a lot of people don't do it,” Mendez said. “I do it religiously. My wife kind of gets upset because I do it."

The tradition of giving up something that you like and fasting is new to Janie Rodriguez.

Rodriguez just converted to Catholicism and has chosen to give up an Alamo City favorite: Mexican food.

"I give up things that I like to eat,” Mendez said. “I give up things that I like to drink. It's just something that if you're going to do it, you need to stick to it and do it."

Claudia Galindo admitted that the temptations are hard.

"I usually make it,” she said. “I have to, so I can feel a lot better for myself and for Jesus, mainly."

Abstaining a bit to make it through is part of the tradition and a good example for her children, Galindo said.

San Fernando Cathedral will distribute ashes every hour until 8 p.m. Wednesday.  People can get ashes at the last Mass of the day beginning at 7 p.m.