Roman Catholic Bishop Libasci offers his message for Lent
MANCHESTER — Catholic Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester cautions Catholics against just “going through the motions” of Lent this year, but to pursue an intentional course of discipline, seeking the graces and holiness needed to get closer to God.
“Come on, disciples! Isn’t it time to march? Wear the cross of blessed ashes as a badge of courage. Get in line and march for a new day, a new life, a new display of what faith can accomplish! Strike up the band and march to the cadence of three strong and clear drumbeats: prayer, fasting and caring for the poor,” Libasci wrote in his Ash Wednesday message to the state’s estimated 275,641 Roman Catholics.
Catholics and many Christian denominations observe Ash Wednesday on March 5. It marks the beginning of a 40-day period of fasting, almsgiving, self-reflection and prayer in preparation for celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the cross on Easter Sunday, which is April 20.
Ash Wednesday is a day of universal fast and abstinence in the church. Ashes are blessed and smeared in the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the faithful at Masses while they are called to repent or remember that “you are dust and to dust you will return.”
Bishop Libasci encourages Catholics to pray hard, say the Rosary, take up the spiritual exercises of fasting and caring for the poor.
He warned Catholics that if they “go through Lent hastily or forget what it is all about, then not only are the blessed ashes just a blur or a shadow, but our soul’s chance at real healthy growth gets forgotten and lost,” Libasci said.
“The graces of Lent begin to blur; the conversion of the heart toward holiness faces to a grayish shadow. We bend back into the crowd. We may be a Christian, but we’re no different,” he added.