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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Ash Wednesday Mass

by Marshal Owen

St. Mary Cathedral, Sandakan - Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season. The ashes symbolize penance and the dust from which God made people. When Bishop, priest and extraordinary ministry mark Christians' foreheads with the ashes they often say, "Repent and believe in the Gospel," or "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Lent, which lasts 40 days not including Sundays, is a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for the Easter season. 
On 26th February 2020, Ash Wednesday was celebrated simultaneously at St Mary’s Cathedral in English, Jules P. Stephen’s Hall, SM St. Mary, mile 2.5 in Chinese and St Mark’s Church in Bahasa Malaysia. This was a history when the rear end of the church wasn't enough to keep the number of parishioners that came along that day.
The mass at the Cathedral was celebrated by his Lordship Rt. Rev Julius Dusin Gitom and concelebrated by Deacon Stephen Esguerra. More than three thousand faithful attended the Eucharistic celebration. During the homily, his Lordship mentioned about the significant things during lent season, which is the renewal of baptism. Furthermore, the prelate added, “lent season is a good time to serve the needy in our society or community. God is very generous to us and we could also be generous to others”. He also emphasizes the Lenten message of Pope Francis about compassionate sharing. The mass ended with the mark of the ashes on the parishioners' forehead.
At the same time, over a thousand faithful attended Eucharistic celebration at St. Mark's Church presided over by Rev. Fr. Christopher Ireneus.

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