Temple, TX (FOX 44) — As Mardi Gras season comes to an end many in Temple gathered this evening at St. Luke’s Catholic Church for Mass.

It’s for Ash Wednesday, a Christian practice with a focus on repentance and prayer in order to be closer to God.

Many people who participate in Ash Wednesday attend mass or service for the pastor to mark their forehead with a cross in black ash.

This is done to recognize death, humility, and hope.

“Because of sin, we are going to die, so we mark ourselves and we say, ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return,” said St. Luke Catholic Church pastor John Guzaldo. “That reminds us to live our life with our resurrection day in mind.”

Guzaldo says Ash Wednesday marks the season of lent.

“The whole church enters into a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving to prepare for Easter, so Easter is such a huge celebration in our faith,” said Guzaldo. “The more we fast, the more we pray, the more we can celebrate it.”

It’s a period lasting 40 days. Followers abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday.

The fasting is seen as a sign of self-mastery.

St. Luke’s Knights of Columbus member, Lee Smith adds how the fasting and giving up of things is only one part of lent.

“You take on more things to bring you closer,” said Smith. “Becoming more involved with the liturgy, doing more things like attending the stations of the cross that are held every Friday.”

Other practices encouraged during lent is to go to confession, pray more, attend mass, and more things to help in your personal life.

In St. Luke facilities and maintenance manager Benjamin Shrewsbury life, he says he’s giving up video games.

“It gives me an opportunity to do some other things that are a little more healthy,” said Shrewsbury. “I’m married, so I get to just help my wife out, and perform and just do some different activities that are a little more wholesome.”

During Lent, St. Luke’s will have Fish Fry Fridays and invites the community to join.