NEW ORLEANS - It's officially the Lenten season and the Archbishop of New Orleans is encouraging people to do a bit of soul searching.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond welcomed parishioners and visitors at St. Louis Cathedral Wednesday to receive ashes.

People lined up to receive the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads, and, Aymond said the ritual has symbolic and practical meaning.

He said Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent are dedicated to reflection and change in people's lives.

"We ask God to help us to know one thing in particular he's asking us to change during Lent, and to be open to that change," said Aymond.

In observation of Lent, many Catholics will fast or abstain from meat on Fridays, but there are, of course, other habits and aspects of life that people can avoid during the 40 days of Lent.