Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany blesses churchgoers with ashes at an Ash Wednesday mass on Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany.
ALBANY >> Bishop Edward Scharfenberger spent his second Ash Wednesday as head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany this week with a special service in the Capital City.
Along with millions around the world, hundreds of area Catholics including Capitol workers, school children and local residents all lined up to receive their ashes at a noontime mass on Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
was ordained in April of 2014 as Albanys 10th bishop.
As the bishop began his
second full Lenten season in his
new role, Scharfenberger
, like many others, sported the sign of the cross drawn in ashes on his
Unlike the sacraments of the Catholic faith, Scharfenberger
said, There is nothing magical, nothing holy in the ashes.
The ashes are not meant to advertise that a person in faithful, the bishop explained.
We do it publicly because were pleading that the mercy of God may come to us.
went on to remind those present that Gods mercy is for everyone, even the worst sinners in the world.
Gods after you.
wants to heal you.
Do not be afraid, he
told the crowd.