President Donald Trump wished Christians and Catholics a “peaceful and prayerful” start to the Christian Lenten season Wednesday.

The president issued a Wednesday statement in which he wished “everyone observing Ash Wednesday a peaceful and prayerful day.”

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“For Catholics and many other Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season that concludes with the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday,” the president said in a statement.

“Today, millions of Christians will be marked on their foreheads with the sign of the cross,” the president said. “The imposition of ashes is an invitation to spend time during Lent fasting, praying, and engaging in acts of charity.”

“This powerful and sacred tradition reminds us of our shared mortality, Christ’s saving love, and the need to repent and accept the Gospel more fully,” he said.

“We join in prayer with everyone observing this holy day and wish you a prayerful Lenten journey,” Trump added. “May you grow closer to God in your faith during this blessed season.”

Catholics and Christians observe Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the liturgical Lenten season, a day on which many Christians fast, pray, and wear ashes on their heads as a reminder that they will ultimately return to dust.

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