LENT – FROM ASH WEDNESDAY TO HOLY THURSDAY – A way of prayer, penance and charity

– Miguel Augusto

On Ash Wednesday last February 27, during the celebration of the Mass that marks the beginning of this liturgical period, the faithful received the imposition of the ashes. The meaning of this gesture is to remind us that one day we “return to dust” – “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

“Lent” comes from the from Old English lencten “springtime, spring.” In Latin, it is  “Quadragesima” which means “forty days.” It was inspired by the forty-day period when Jesus, led by the Spirit, was isolated in the desert and was tempted by the Devil (Luke 4:1-2), as well as the forty days that Noah spent in the Ark and the forty years that Moses lived and travelled through the Sinai desert. This is the time of preparation for the Lord’s Passover.

On Holy Thursday, from the evening Mass “in Cena Domini” (Mass of the Lord’s Supper) that includes the Washing of the feet, the Easter Triduum commences, which covers Good Friday “of the Passion of the Lord” and Holy Saturday, that looks forward to the Easter Vigil, concluding on the eve of Resurrection Sunday.

Within the calendar of activities and celebrations promoted by the Diocese of Macau for the Lenten and Easter period, we will inform our readers of the program so that they can join and participate in these moments that unite us to the Lord and are part of our spiritual growth.

Last Saturday we had the Procession of Our Lord “Bom Jesus dos Passos” from the church of St Augustine to the Cathedral, capped by a vigil to the Blessed Sacrament in the church of the Sé Cathedral. On Sunday the Procession of Our Lord “Bom Jesus dos Passos” was held, commemorating seven stations of the Via Crucis, joining us to the Passion of Christ  which leads us to the glory of Easter.

We recall that the Church recommends to us during Lent to make the Way of the Cross in the church. In the Sé Cathedral, the Way of the Cross is held every Thursday at 5 pm during this period in Portuguese, but all are welcome to join.

Next Sunday, March 17, from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, we will have in the church of the Sé Cathedral a teaching/sharing on Eucharistic Adoration given by Father Leonard Dollentas (English language). In this meeting, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed, followed by Benediction.

On April 2, at 8 pm, in the church of the Seminary of St. Joseph, we will have the performance of the choir “Eton College Chapel Choir”, with the presence of the conductor Tim Johnson and the organist David Goode. A moment of chant, reading of the Word, prayer and blessing. Admission is free.

For a reflection on Lent and Easter, there will be a spiritual retreat in Portuguese, conducted by Father Daniel de Carvalho Ribeiro SCJ, from 26 to 28 April, in the “Vila de São José”, near Choc Van in Coloane. For registrations, you can call the numbers: 63689673/68180326. The cost of this retreat is 800 Mop.

We are continually called to conversion: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). “Thus says the LORD: In a time of favor, I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you” (Isaiah 49:8). “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

The faithful are also encouraged to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Confession, which is the way we participate in Christ’s Resurrection. When our sins are forgiven, we rise again.

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