The Sundays and Weeks of Ordinary Time will stop at the 7th Week, making way for Lent and the Easter Cycle. The holiest season - Lent - will begin on 22 February with Ash Wednesday, and it will conclude on Holy Saturday, 8 April 2023 - a day before Easter. Ordinary Weeks will then resume after Pentecost with the 8th Week, on 29 May 2023.
On Ash Wednesday (A Day of Ashes), we are marked with blessed ash on our foreheads. A symbol in the shape of a cross will be displayed on our foreheads and the words – “Repent, believe in the Gospel!” (MK 1:15) will be spoken to us. This phrase is like a splash of ice-cold water on our faces to wake us up from our sinful nature and turn towards Jesus, remembering the Paschal Mystery - Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Ash Wednesday is a day of obligation and of abstinence (not eating meat). It also marks the first day of fasting, repentance, prayer, self-control and self-discipline. We are also strongly encouraged to abstain from consuming meat every Friday during Lent - remembering the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross on Good Friday - and unite ourselves in that sacrifice through abstinence and prayer.
The next six and a half weeks, a 40-day period of penance, invites us to engage with the three pillars – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Lent is a gift to us to reflect on how we can draw ourselves closer to God. During this coming season of Lent, make every effort for personal and communal conversion by leaving behind all our selfishness and self-interest. Allow ourselves to learn more about God’s will and let Him to transform us towards greater joy, love and service to one another.
The Archdiocese of Human Development has set the theme “The Light of Life” for Lent 2023. Jesus is Our Light; whoever follows him will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life, (cf. John 8:12). We encourage every family in our Parish to purchase candles with stickers, and light them up daily in your home, during family prayers. You can purchase these candles (8” or 3” in height) from our Gift Shop. The remaining candles will be brought to Easter Vigil Mass and left at the grotto after Mass. Catechists and Catechism students are encouraged to light candles during their classes throughout Lent.
This Lent, we do our best to live our lives with faithful and good intentions that are centered in God’s way. May we not allow our pride, ego, ambition, worldly desires and all sorts of trials present around us, to distract or draw us away from the grace of God. We place our trust in Him wholeheartedly and acknowledge Him in every course - He will make our path straight, pleasing and perfect in the eyes of God (cf. Proverb 3: 5 -6). Let us discern and do God’s will as we make our Lenten Penance by taking a synodal journey of listening to God. Let’s live our Lent faithfully and fruitfully!