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Sierra Leone News: Christians begin Lenten Journey

Christians from different denominations in Sierra Leone, yesterday Wednesday, 6th March, joined other Christians around the World to begin the journey of Lent season. Every year during lent season Christians come to the Lord with thanksgiving in their hearts, for God’s love, care and protection in many ways, every day. It is also the time Christians fast, ask for forgiveness and do charity work during the 40 days and 40 nights of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. At the Sacred Heart Cathedral along Siaka Stevens street, Catholics as well as non-Catholics from all walks of life converged at the church to congregate and mark the beginning of lent, with an Ash Wednesday thanksgiving service. The introduction to the mass tells Christians that it is time of the church year for the solemn observance of the great act of history, the redemption of the human race by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The beginning of the 40 days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes which is used in the liturgy. The use of ashes is a survival from an ancient rite according to which converted sinners submitted themselves to canonical penance, and at yesterday’s mass withered palm fronds from previous Palm Sunday was burnt to ashes, blessed and distributed on the foreheads of parishioners. Gospel reading was from, Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18, were Jesus told his disciples, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven. Thus when you give alms sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the street, that they may be praised by men”.

The homily was delivered by the Chief Celebrant, Most Rev. Edward Charles, Bishop of Freetown who cited verses from the first reading, noting that lent is a season of grace and chance of penance to renew man’s faith in God, noting that Christians are ambassadors for Christ, and God making an appeal through man. “Be reconciled with both man and God and ask for his forgiveness from sin, and endeavor to extend a helping hand to those in need”. He added that as Christians begin the lenten journey, they should pray fervently and not like hypocrites, which will be of great help on the day of salvation.

This year’s Ash Wednesday mid-day Thanksgiving mass was not as full to capacity, compared to last year, but a parishioner after church mentioned that other parishioners might have attended the early morning mass, while others will make it to the evening mass. Bishop Charles also announced and encouraged parishioners to attend the stations of the cross, every Wednesday and Friday throughout the season.

By Ade Campbell

Thursday March 07, 2019.


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