Thursday February 23, 2012
Christians mark start of Lent
By TERENCE TOH
KUALA LUMPUR: Many Christians around the country attended church services and started fasting as the Lent season began with Ash Wednesday.
“On Ash Wednesday, Catholics are called to fast and abstain,” said Kuala Lumpur Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute Director Father Clarence Devadass.
“It is an expression of our sorrow for our sins and a reminder to take stock of our spiritual lives.”
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent, a 40-day period before Easter where Christians are encouraged to intensify their prayer, fasting and acts of charity.
The day is observed by Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, and several other Christian denominations.
Churches usually hold services where ash is placed on the foreheads of believers.
“Ash is a symbol of penance, and helps us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice,” Father Clarence said.
“We are marked with them to humble our hearts.”
Many Malaysian Christians said the day held special significance for them.
Student Amelia Tong, 19, said she would observe Ash Wednesday by attending mass and abstaining from meat.
“To me, the day is a time to reflect on my mistakes. It is also a time for me to strengthen my faith in Christ,” Tong said.
Multimedia specialist John Vincent Hernandez, 25, said that during Lent, he planned to walk instead of taking a taxi to work each day.
“The point of the Lenten season is the story of Christ, and we all know much of his life didn’t involve convenience,” Hernandez said.
“So, sacrificing something that I’ve gotten used to is a good way to remind me of that.”