Lufkin congregations observe Ash Wednesday and discuss the Pope’ - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lufkin congregations observe Ash Wednesday and discuss the Pope’s resignation

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A season of renewal begins in the Catholic Church just days after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.

Benedict is the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign from the position, the 28th of February will be his last day.

"Pope is such a great example to the world he was not hanging on to the power," said Father Joe Kannampuzha, St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church.

Father Joe of St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church of Lufkin says an ailing pope is an ailing church and by stepping down he creates opportunity for growth in the ministry.

"In 2008 the Pope said once I become incapable of carrying on this ministry I will step down and he did," said Kannampuzha.

Wednesday, the first day of Lent, churches across the area were filled with people ready to start a new.

Catholics believe the ashes placed on their foreheads represent their repentance before god.

"Its hopefully a time of conversion to change and become a better person," said Martha Lopez Coleman, Secretary, St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

 For the 40 days leading up to Easter, Catholics vow to give up certain things like soda or sweets, or take on challenges like healthier living or praying throughout the day.

"Running three days a week and have a 10k under my belt," said Coleman.

"I don't really give up anything for lent, I basically use lent to get close to God, pray more," said Davin Trevino, Member, St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church.

The ultimate goal is spiritual renewal, letting go of things in the past and grow stronger in faith in the future.

The 85-year-old- Pope announced Monday that he was stepping down because of his age and that it was for the good of the church.

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