SAN ANTONIO — Catholics will pause to recognize one of their most important and popular holy days.

On Ash Wednesday millions of people will attend special services at local parishes. The day marks the start of Lent, the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

Central and South Texas has more than a million Catholics, 700,000 of those reside in the San Antonio area.

Rituals for Ash Wednesday include prayer, spiritual reflection, the beginning denying temptation during Lent, abstaining from meat and receiving a cross of ashes on the forehead.

This year Easter is Sunday, April 1.