Pope walks in Ash Wednesday procession between Rome churches - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Pope walks in Ash Wednesday procession between Rome churches

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ROME (AP) -- Pope Francis has walked in a solemn Ash Wednesday procession between churches on Rome's ancient Aventine Hill.

Francis, carrying his pastoral staff, chanted prayers along with other participants during the few minutes' walk down the street. In the mild, late afternoon temperatures, Francis wore a purple cloak, in keeping with the somber Lenten mood, a penitential period for Christians preparing for Easter next month.

The ceremony inside St. Sabina's Basilica includes a ritual dab of ashes on the heads of faithful. The ashes symbolize mortality. Francis sprinkled incense at the altar of the basilica, which dates to the early 5th century.

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