Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Music filled the halls of Sat. Cyril's and Methodius Catholic Church.
As parishioners gathered to pray at the Ash Wednesday services, the faithful are marked with a cross of ash, which symbolizes a period of 40 days of prayer and sacrifice.
"It's the idea of Lent coming on, and you want to do something that makes you feel better," said parishioner Dolores Rosko, of Johnson City.
Many make small individual sacrifices to prepare for God's sacrifice at Easter.
"I always give up desserts because that's what I like the best. I'm going to try to do it again this year," said parishioner Rosemary Abbadessa, of Johnson City.
Pastor Fr. Robert Amrhein says the sacrifice isn't what's important, but the reason behind it.
"We don't become attached to the shall we say to the means, but rather to where the means are meant to lead us," Amrhein said. "To God himself."
At the Catholic Charities food pantry at 232 Main St. in Binghamton, director Lori Accardi hopes some will see the season as an opportunity to give.
"You can do something positive during Lent, such as doing things for other people," Accardi said. "It doesn't always have to be giving something up."
They serve more than 5,000 people a month, so they are always in need.
"If you sacrifice something that you indulge yourself in," Accardi said. "You can make a donation or buy some food for people who would otherwise go without."