Photo Gallery: 2012 Ash Wednesday Ceremonies 14/117

Pope Benedict XVI second from left background,  sprinkles holy water,  in Santa Sabina Basilica for Ash Wednesday prayer service, in Rome, Wednesday Feb. 25, 2009.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. (AP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto, Pool)