Sandakan : Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a liturgical time, the season of Lent which covers a 40-day period in preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
Close to 1,500 people gathered at St Mary's Cathedral which was filled to the brim, to attend the Ash Wednesday Mass in English yesterday 9th March 2011, presided by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom. Simultaneously there were two other masses celebrated respectively at St Joseph's Church in Chinese by Fr Phillip Muji and at St Mark's Church in Bahasa Malaysia by Fr Thomas Makajil.
At the onset of the mass, the prelate explained all about 'Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent.' He said that ashes are made by burning the blessed palms that were distributed the previous year on Palm Sunday. The signing of the ashes on the foreheads reminds of our sinfulness and calls us to repentance and conversion which is also a sign of our humility. It is not a sign of passivity or despair but sign of hope for all.
In his homily, Bishop Julius said that for the season of lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving are the pillars of the Lenten journey for Christians. It is the piety, the devotion and the sincerity that the Lord seeks from us this Lent.
This fasting and abstinence is not simply a form of penance, however; it is also a call for us to take stock of our spiritual lives. As Lent begins, we should set out specific spiritual goals we would like to reach before Easter and decide how we will pursue them.
He encouraged the faithful to embrace the Lenten journey as an opportunity for spiritual growth.
|Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel|