LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A season of renewal begins in theCatholic Church just days after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.
Benedict is the first pope in nearly600 years to resign from the position, the 28th of February will be his lastday.
"Pope is such a great example tothe world he was not hanging on to the power," said Father JoeKannampuzha, St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church.
Father Joe of St. Andrew the ApostleCatholic Church of Lufkin says an ailing pope is an ailing church and bystepping down he creates opportunity for growth in the ministry.
"In 2008 the Pope said once Ibecome incapable of carrying on this ministry I will step down and hedid," 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 ontheir foreheads represent their repentance before god.
"Its hopefully a time ofconversion to change and become a better person," said Martha LopezColeman, 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 onchallenges like healthier living or praying throughout the day.
"Running three days a week andhave a 10k under my belt," said Coleman.
"I don't really give up anythingfor lent, I basically use lent to get close to God, pray more," said DavinTrevino, Member, St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church.
The ultimate goal is spiritualrenewal, letting go of things in the past and grow stronger in faith in thefuture.
The 85-year-old- Pope announced Mondaythat he was stepping down because of his age and that it was for the good ofthe church.