NPR

Ash Wednesday Brings A 'Welcome Honesty' To Discussions About Mortality

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. It's historically a time of repentance. But more and more, churches are also using it to reflect on mortality itself.

The beeping of machines, the bandages, and the blood make the intensive care unit in any hospital a difficult place. Chaplain Fernando Serna walks the halls of Oregon Health and Science University, providing spiritual counsel and trying to bring some comfort.

"A sick person is facing the demise of their body, the smells of their body," Serna acknowledges. "And their families can't really turn away from that either."

And Serna helps them face some difficult truths.

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