As the season of Lent begins, His Lordship Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, is urging all Catholics to take this season seriously.
The season began with the observance of Ash Wednesday (February 26) in the Catholic Church and many other traditional Christian denominations. During Mass, there is the blessing of the ashes. The ashes are made from the palms that were used last year, which were burnt to make ashes for Ash Wednesday service. The symbol of ashes is used to trace on the foreheads of those present at the Mass.
Lent lasts for six and a half weeks and during that time, the Church remembers the forty (40) days Jesus spent in the desert fasting, praying and preparing for his ministry.
“What I would like to say to the people today, given the fact that we all are sinners and we are in need of renewal, I would urge all Catholics, all Christians to take this season seriously,” Bishop Malzaire told Dominica News Online (DNO) during an interview on Wednesday.
He continued, “We have seen over the past few years how many of our young people are not able to differentiate between Lent and outside of Lent.”
He said the loud music continues, “the jamming continues and that is sad…”
Malzaire wants to challenge the media houses especially to tone down the music so that the people who are seeking or trying to live a better life will be able to focus properly on this season.
He went on to say that together, as a Christian community, he wants people to use this season as one of renewal.
“When we look at what is happening in our world today, the things that we have to battle with, the crimes, the violence, although Dominica cannot complain too much, but in the world, there is a lot of violence; there is a lot of hatred. Wars are still going on,” the Bishop noted.
He also mentioned the current challenge posed by the coronavirus virus.
“All these things we need to pray for,” he said. “We need to realize we are not in control.”
The head of the Catholic Church in Dominica described Lent as a special season for the Catholic Community, forty days of “serious reflection” meant to help Catholics reflect on the fact that Christ died on the cross for the salvation of mankind.
Bishop Malzaire explained that the aim of lent besides the conversion and the renewal process is to take Catholics to the experience of Easter.
“Easter is the big climax, that after we have gone to the tomb with Jesus especially on Good Friday, then on Easter Sunday during the Easter Vigil celebrations we will be blessing the water which will remind us of Baptismal promises and it takes us into the glorious resurrection of Easter,” he said. “So by the time we get to Easter we have really renewed our faith, we have gone to confession to a Priest, we have reconciled ourselves with our neighbour and we are all renewed, and we live like resurrection people.”
He said Lent is used as an example of how we should be living all the time, to be reconciled constantly with God, so that even outside of Lent we can live by the principles that we achieve during the Lenten Season.
During the 40 days of Lent which will bring the Catholic community through Holy Week, various activities are organized including retreats and days of reflection and engaging in fasting.