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Updated: Apr 22, 2022

Since Ash Wednesday (2 March 2022), the Holy Father Pope Francis, has invited all Catholics throughout the world to pray for peace in the churches, in the communities and an end to war in Ukraine. When Russia invaded Ukraine, many Ukrainians started to leave their country or flee to the countryside with their families to save themselves. Some however, remained in the city to be with those who are unable to leave - to support and accompany them. The churches in Ukraine have opened to those who need shelter. We continue to pray that the Lord will calm everything in Ukraine, soften the hearts of all those within and outside the city, and for the conversion of Russia, during these difficult times.

It has already been two years since the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world. In these two years, we have experienced several lockdowns and restrictions in crossing the states and international borders. We have not come to the end of this pandemic yet, but it has gone beyond our control now. Some of us personally have experienced the infection, and some have lost their loved ones, friends and relatives in this battle. We are slowly learning through bitter experiences of the past and present.

Presently, the numbers of Omicron cases are just spreading like wildfire among our families, working colleagues, students and children. Everyone is learning how to cope with this Omicron variant which symptoms are only visible after 4-6 days. The incubation period is approximately a week and those infected need self-isolation at once to stop spreading it to others. The experts have classified it as a normal flu but highly contagious. It seems like we all must live and accept it as part of our reality.

Everyone is trying their best to be more responsible and to ensure our health and safety is secure wherever we are, especially at our workplaces, markets, shops, places of worships, etc. We are aware that the more we are exposed to the surroundings, our chance of getting infected is higher. We are reminded to be at home or isolate ourselves regardless of how mild or severe our symptoms are so as to ensure we do not spread the Omicron variant. We hope and pray all of us to adhere to all the safety measures or SOPs wherever we are.

The Holy Father in His Lenten message reminded us to have a heart of generosity by “sowing the seeds and sharing goodness” abundantly in every person and to have a heart of conversion from the world of materialism. Our conversion may not occur overnight, but it is an ongoing process until to the end of our lives. We must have the desire to be transformed bit by bit every moment of our lives, especially during this Lent.

Evil is at work always, but we must not quit from observing the three pillars of Lent – prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Just remember the few key words from our Holy Father for this Lent which comes from St Paul’s letter to the Galatians (6: 9-10) – “let us not grow tired of doing good, do not give up”, and “do good to all” by making good use of present “opportunity” to patiently “sow seeds of goodness and kindness” and we will reap in due time.

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