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Lenten period is for prayers, fasting, self-restraint, alms-giving – Cleric

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Religious leaders have admonished Christians to use the Lenten period of fasting, self-restraint, alms-giving and  to pray for the peace, stability and socio-economic progress of the country.


This is coming as Christians in Nigeria joined their counterparts globally to mark Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten period, which will usher in Easter celebration.

Revd Canon Ifeanyi Emegwa, Vicar of the Church of Pentecost Awka,(Church of Nigeria) Anglican,Communion, said the Lenten period is marked with fasting, self-restraint and alms giving by the Christian faithful.

He said that it was also marked by putting ashes on the heads of the clergy and the other faithful on the day.

“Lenten period, as it is called, is a time of prayer, fasting, self-restraint and alms giving by Christ believers,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency Correspondent, who covered the commencement pf the activity in Awka metropolis, reports that the day was overwhelmingly marked by Christians that marked their foreheads with ashes.

Emegwa said that Ash Wednesday signaled the beginning of the fast of lent expected to last for 46 days.

The Cleric noted that the prayers of thousands of Christians observing Lent would go a long way to ensure a peaceful and prosperous country for all citizens.

Earlier, Rev. Echezona Obioha, in a Lenten homily, said that it  originated  from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting  observed by wearing ashes on the forehead to symbolise that all men were made from dust.

Echezona said that it is a period of grief for the sins committed which separates man from God, with Christian faithful abstaining from pleasure as a mark of repentance on the day.

He said that fasting for 40 days was like Moses fasted for 40 days as recorded in Exodus 34 :28  and Elijah also fasted for forty days as recorded in First King 19 vs 8.

An Anglican faithful, Mr Chidi Beluchukwu, who took part in the Ash Wednesday service, said that the ash used on the day was a reminder to all that man is dust and would return to dust.

Beluchukwu said that the faithful are enjoined to use the lenten period to reconcile with both man and God, and also  give up sinful habits.

Mrs Maudlin Okeke said that the significance of Ash Wednesday was a time of more prayer and fasting to draw closer to God and live like Christ as a good ambassador of the Christian belief.

Okeke said it was a time to abstain from bad habits and pray to God to provide grace for the faithful to live a worthy life always.

NAN reports that the ashes used for the religious observance are made from palm branches blessed on the previous year’s palm Sundays.

Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi, Director of Social Communication, Enugu Catholic Diocese, (Phone/Email) also urged Christians to use the Lenten season to show love, mercy and forgiveness to others.

He told NAN in Enugu that this has become imperative because when Christians exhibit the act of charity toward their neighbours, it expressed the complete faith they professed in God.

According to him, the three cardinal ponts emphasised during the Lenten season are prayers, fasting and arms-giving.

He added that when Christians try to practice the three virtues, it brings them closer to God and make their relationship with human beings better.

“Lent is a very important season, in Christianity, it is a time we flex on our journey of faith and our relationship with God.

“God expect us to reflect on our lives and the way we carry on with the faith we profess in Him, also a time to look inwards and find ways to make our relationship with Him better.

“We are expected in the 40 days of the Lenten season to show the faith we profess in things we do,” he said.

The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Most Rev. Gabriel Dunia, called on Christians to make the lent period very purposeful by praying and fasting against insecurity in the country.

He said this during a Mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo.

He also urged Christians to actively participate in the 40 day adoration prayers during the period of the lent to pray against banditry, kidnapping, raping and killings in the country.

Dunia disclosed that the Catholic Bishop of Nigeria would stage a peaceful protest on March 1 against killings in some parts of the country.

“We the Bishop of Nigeria will stage a protest on Sunday over the evil that have engulf the land and his people.

“I call on Catholic faithful to use this lent period to pray and fast against banditry, kidnapping, killing, raping and other forms of social vices in the country,” he said.

The cleric said that the Lenten period was a time for Christians to reflect on their lives, find out where they had gone wrong and where to make amendment.

“Lent is a special period set aside and is an opportunity for the children of God to enter relationship with God.

“It is a period of penance of prayer, fasting and alms giving.

“The lord God has taught us that prayer, fasting and alms giving are remedies of our sins, by this we empty ourselves and see nothing in the World,” he said.

The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Most Rev. Gabriel Dunia, called on Christians to make the lent period very purposeful by praying and fasting against insecurity in the country.

He said during a Mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo.

He therefore charged all Catholics to do as the Holy Father had admonished; turn away from the culture of dominating the weak, and avoid the culture of individualism.

The clergy also called on all Nigerians to shun corruption and politics of bitterness; and also turn away from the rhetoric of hate speeches which often created mutual suspicion among people.

“Let us learn to love and trust one another because there is deficit of love in our nation. We, therefore, pray to God to help break our hardened hearts so that we can love the way God loves, and care for one another.’’

He also urged Christians to actively participate in the 40 day adoration prayers during the period of the lent to pray against banditry, kidnapping, raping and killings in the country.

Dunia disclosed that the Catholic Bishop of Nigeria would stage a peaceful protest on March 1 against killings in some parts of the country.

“We, the Bishop of Nigeria, will stage a protest on Sunday over the evil that have engulfed the land and his people.

“The lord God has taught us that prayer, fasting and alms giving are remedies of our sins, by this we empty ourselves and see nothing in the World,” he said. 

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Edited By: Hawa Lwal



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Hawa Lawal: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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