Ash Wednesday marks start of Lent

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By Umatuna Si Yu’os Staff

The Catholic Church on Guam and throughout the world will open the holy season of Lent during Ash Wednesday on Feb. 14, 2018.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes and priests of the Archdiocese of Agaña will celebrate Ash Wednesday Masses throughout the island with thousands expected to attend.

Ash Wednesday sees the blessing and distribution of ashes in our Church worldwide as we enter Lent. Catholic faithful receive the marking of ashes on their foreheads as a public and communal sign of penance.

Priests, deacons and assisting ministers will place blessed ashes on the forehead of each baptized person, saying these important words, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel,” or “Remember, man, you are dust, and to dust you will return.”

The 40-day penitential season of Lent signals a period of prayer and sacrifice. All Catholics are called to repent of their sins while practicing fasting, abstinence and almsgiving.

It is a time of preparation for the great feast of Easter, when we celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.

See Ash Wednesday 2018 Mass Schedules

Statutes for Lent

Editor’s note – This is the section of the Archdiocese of Agaña’s Lenten Statutes covering fasting and abstinence.

Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all who are 18 years old and older who have not yet celebrated their 59th birthday. On a fast day, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are allowed.

Abstinence is observed by all 14 years old and older. On days of abstinence no meat is allowed. Note that when health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige. Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday are days of abstinence.

Note: If a person is unable to observe the above regulations due to ill health or other serious reasons, other suitable forms of self-denial are encouraged. Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. The faithful and catechumens should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for baptism or of renewal of baptism at Easter.

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The Umatuna Si Yu’os is published every week by the Archdiocese of Agaña, Guam. Our mission is to print and distribute a true report of the Roman Catholic Church’s ministry of changing lives through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.