Roman Catholics around the world are observing Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent.
The 40-day period of fasting, which leads up to Easter, is meant to serve as a time of reflection and repentance.
Rev. John Giuliani, pastor of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill, described the season as "spiritual spring training for Christians."
"We confront our frailness, our failures," he told The Herald. "And the ashes symbolize our broken dreams."
Worshippers traditionally have their foreheads marked with the sign of the cross in ash. It's a reminder of the third chapter of Genesis which reads, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return."