ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- This is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. And for Pope Benedict, It was his last Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
This was his last major liturgical celebration before he steps down at the end of the month.
Huge crowds cheered for the pontiff as he made his first public appearance since his resignation.
An ancient Catholic tradition, the marking of a cross on the forehead, but this Lent the church is dealing with something totally unexpected.
St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson expects a new pope before Easter. But he says the Cardinals who will be electing the new leader will give prayerful thought and care to elect a man of great theology and great humility.
For those who were not blessed by the quiet of a cathedral this Ash Wednesday, they were blessed in the midst of traffic noise
Ashes to go, brought the tradition to the sidewalks in south St. Louis.
Ministers and priests from several Christian churches distributed ashes at Grand and Arsenal.
This is the 7th year of the 'Ashes To Go' program in south St. Louis.