Ash Wednesday at Vatican City

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. 

Ash Wednesday opens the liturgical 40-day period of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving leading up to Easter.