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Catholic Faithful Observe Ash Wednesday

The   Head of Catholic Church in Kenya, Cardinal John Njue has urged catholic faithful to use the Lenten season as a self-examination period of their lifestyles and deeds.

He said as the church marks the beginning of the lenten season for 40 days, with the celebration of Ash Wednesday that culminates in the Easter celebrations, all faithful’s are required to engage in acts of charity, observe repentance, prayer and fasting.

“Lent is a season specifically for reflection, self-re-evaluation, repentance and reconciliation. It is a time of profound grace and we are invited to let that grace sink in, grow and change us,” said Njue.

The Cardinal was speaking on Thursday at Holy Family Minor Basilica in Nairobi where he celebrated the Ash Wednesday Mass which starts the 40 days fasting period in the Catholic Church

He noted that alms giving is more than just giving away money as it also involves sparing ones time through serving the needs of those around them who need their support.

“The Lenten practice encourages us to let go of things that mean the most to us, among them money, valuable possessions and our precious time which we give the most priority in our lives,” Njue said.

He said this year’s theme is ‘Environmental conservation, being generous to family values that have been broken, avoiding corrupt practices and segregation of people, being charitable to the rule of law, healing and renewal of the nation.

During the mass, priests administered ashes on the forehead of the faithful by making a sign of the cross, symbolizing penance and contrition.

The ashes, made from the blessed palms used on the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year are a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts.

Ash Wednesday originated from a Jewish tradition of penance and fasting.

By  Valencia Nasimiyu/Bernadette Khaduli

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