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Catholic faithful mark Lenten season

Hundreds of Catholic faithful in Nairobi, today, thronged churches to mark the Ash Wednesday Lenten Season, which starts the 40 days fasting period, that will culminate in the Easter celebrations.

Celebrating the Ash Wednesday Mass at the Holy Family Minor Basilica, Rev. Fr. Simon Nganga, said that the Lenten Season is important in the Catholic Church Calendar,  as it is the period when the faithful are given an opportunity to continuously examine themselves, and to be reconciled with God.

He said the Ashes which are applied on the forehead of the faithful on Ash Wednesday, reminds the faithful of their mortality of the human person and an invitation from God that the human person be reconciled with him.

“As Pope Francis says, without God, we are dust but with God we rise into new life,” said Fr. Nganga.

The prelate said the Church gives its faithful spiritual exercises, to follow during Lenten season, singling out prayer, fasting and alms giving, and stressed that prayer is very important in the life of a human person, cautioning that without it, one cannot be united with God.

“Prayer entails listening to God, putting ourselves into his disposition, it also helps in our continuous conversion, to accept things in the sight of God,” he added.

Regarding fasting, Rev. Fr. Nganga, said it is a manifestation of whatever takes charge on people which hinders them to be close to God, thereby, making them unable to live a life of a human person.

“You can ask yourselves. What are these things that truly enslaves you and cannot make you be united with God? These are the things that you must fast, during this Lenten season,” he emphasized.

On Alms giving, Fr. Nganga, noted that the gesture reminds Christians that they are stewards in the Kingdom of God and that the things they have, are not theirs, but have been entrusted to them for some time by God.

“Alms giving is an indication to think about our brothers and sisters and other people and especially the less fortunate.  Think about those who need our help. It is an invitation to have a spirit of sharing,” he said.

He noted that when people start sharing, they grow in love and are enriched and become united with God.

Fr. Nganga further noted that the intention of giving Alms, is when the person benefiting from the gift does not know where it has come from and those giving do not know the person who has received.

“There are those who share Alms to be glorified, others that they be elevated in their spirit. Those who give not for glory is the highest way of giving alms as they are doing it in a dignified manner,” added Fr. Nganga.

The prelate reminded the faithful as they embark on the 40 days’ journey, to let it transform them by doing what is right and just.

Ash Wednesday, is the first day of the penitential season of Lent where Catholics continue to express sorrow for their sins, and desire to draw closer to God through prayer, fasting and alms giving for 40 days.

The Lent Season is observed in the 40 days before Easter, and was developed as a way of recalling Jesus Christ’s 40 days and nights of fasting in the wilderness, while he prayed and battled with the devil.

Ashes were used in the ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Fr. Wallace Ng’ang’a and Rev. Fr. Dr. Simon Peter Kamomoe, as Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Nairobi.

The announcement was made by Archbishop Hubertus Van Megen, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan (Pope’s Representative).

Archbishop Phillip Anyolo of Nairobi Archdiocese congratulated the two priests on their appointment.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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