By Emelda Siama John
Over one thousand faithful congregants at Holy Rosary Catholic Parish Buluk received ash to mark the start of the lent season on Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is a holy day of prayer and fasting in many denominations. It marks the first day of Lent (the six weeks of penitence before Easter).
Many Christians attend the special Ash Wednesday church services, at which worshippers received ash on their foreheads. Ash Wednesday derives its name from this practice, which is accompanied by the words, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Speaking during homily to the congregation on Wednesday, the main celebrant of the vice Rector of Theology St. Paul’s Major Lecturer of Philosophy, Richard Igga, said that, Ash Wednesday is observed by Catholics as well as some churches in the Reformed tradition.
Ash Wednesday is traditionally observed with fasting and abstinence from meat every Friday, chocolate and Alcohol in a number of Christian’s denominations. As it is the first day of Lent, many Christians begin Ash Wednesday by marking a Lenten calendar, praying a Lenten daily devotional, and making a Lenten sacrifice that they will not partake of until the arrival of Eastertide.
“The God that we serve, is the God to be humble, the God to be simple, the God to be an answer, one thing you should remember during this lent is that of weep, remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return, and this is a reality for us as Christians,” Igga said.
“This time we do penitence, say no to evil one, say no to sin, pray, fast and do work of Alms giving, and pray more, in our faith, we have two spiritual faiths, we have the holy scripture, we have the traditional, the church, stay in the holy day, and Sunday to receive God, the law of God is the Law of God therefore let us be like Moses this time,” he said.
He said that when you see around there are lots of wars, why because you don’t have love for each other, you pray and receive the law of God, secondly your lord fasted for 40 days in the wildness before he started his mission, and you start your mission this time with the lord, repent, pray and forgive.
“Lent is the time of prayers and Alms giving, but if you’re doing something better in the area continue with it,” he advised.
Fr. Igga said that, “if you’re eating two breads in a day, reduce to one, minimize your ratio not for economic purpose but to give to the people in need, this is the signification of reducing your ratio of consumption and then give for the needy”.
He noted that, if you are sick, you will not fast simply you will fast from your deed, or materially, for the ill people, they are not forced to fast, unless they want to fast. “But this general period is important for us Catholics, we renew our commitment to the lord not every year, but you have to make a new commitment, for example commitment to love and justices,”
“Here in South Sudan, we have many deplorable things happening, so let us fast from atrocious things, pray so that change comes to our country,” he added.
“Ash Wednesday is accepting our weaknesses, because it is written in the Bible that we come from the dust and in to dust we shall return, we have to admit our weakness during this time of lent, it’s a right for everybody to know that we depend on God because he is the beginning of everything and the end of everything,” he cited.
He further stated that, Chocolate is the show of leisure, we need to relax from the leisure that we are doing, and meat reminds us of the blood of Jesus Christ which poured on the cross, therefore we don’t eat meat every Friday.
“Let people refund the change in this country, because recently Pope gave us strong message, that message can be prophesy throughout the lent, and it will help us a lot, let people come for recollection in church, and confession,” he added.