Archbishop Simon’s Lenten Message 2019
Dear brothers & sisters in Christ, and friends of good will,
Once again for Catholics, we are beginning the season of Lent. The word LENT means SPRING in old English. The season of Lent coincides with spring, when a farmer prepares the ground and crop for planting. In our Church, Lent is the traditional 40-days of fasting, penance and good works. These Lenten observances and practices are tools for us to experience a new spring time in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. Lent this year begins with Ash Wednesday on 6 March 2019 and ends on Holy Thursday.
Traditionally, Chapter 6 of the Gospel of Matthew provides the three areas of Lenten practices: ALMSGIVING (6:1-4); PRAYER (6:5-8) and FASTING (6:16-18)
- Give to the poor. Visit the sick, lonely and housebound.
- Fast and make sacrifices, give the money saved to the poor and needy.
- Join the Stations of the Cross, Penitential Service, Holy Hours and extra Masses.
- Live simply. Reduce shopping for new clothes and gadgets. Be grateful and contented.
- Be not wasteful and be conscious of the resources that we are using. Recycle.
- Visit and pray with the sick and pray for those who have departed. Bury the dead.
- Participate in the Works of Mercy and charity.
- Alleviate suffering and poverty by contributing money through Catholic Welfare Services’ Lenten Appeal Boxes and Envelopes.
During this season of Lent, I exhort all Catholics, together with friends and people of good will, to fast, pray and contribute generously your time, talent and treasures for the works of mercy and charity. By putting the above into practice, we deepen our friendship with our Lord Jesus, with our family and one another, and our relationship with nature and the world we live in. We confess and overcome our sin and human selfishness in the world. Lent offers us a fresh beginning and a new springtime of healing, restoration and reconciliation with God, oneself, others and the world.
WORKS OF MERCY are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbours in their spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church N.2447)
CATHOLIC WELFARE SERVICES is the charitable arm of the Catholic Church through which we directly serve the poor, widows, elderly and all in need, irrespective of creed, colour or race. Let us do our utmost best to contribute generously to the Lenten Appeal Fund (Boxes and Envelopes) for the alleviation of poverty and material sustenance of those in need.
Most Rev Bishop Simon Poh, Archbishop of Kuching