His Lordship the Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau, Gabriel Malzaire, is saddened by what he sees as a change in the attitude towards the Lenten season which began on Wednesday, February 26th and ends on April 9th.
Lent is a period of penitential preparation for Easter which begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter, and provides for a 40-day fast excluding Sundays.
This is in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.
Bishop Malzaire both old and young are guilty.
He says, “We have noted with deep sadness changes in the tone of our Lenten season over the past years, a tone which has become less conducive to reflection and introspection., Many Catholics today especially the young are not able to tell the difference between the season of Lent and ordinary time. The reason being that there is little change in the tenor of our observances that would speak to the special qualities of the season.”
The Bishop elaborated, “This is evident in the type of music we entertain at home and on the airwaves. Our older folks would be quite aware that it was not so when they grew up. For them, Carnival Tuesday was the end of one modus operandi and Ash Wednesday ushered in a new. Every Catholic instinctively knew the difference. Sadly, today we cannot say the same.”
He made suggestions to help observers properly celebrate this somber period on the Christian calendar.
Those recommendations include moments of prayer, silence, and singing, bible reading and retreats.
“One of the requirements of Lenten observance is to do some form of penance: fasting, abstinence, alms-giving, visits to the sick and shut-in and intense prayer for self and others.”
His Lordship challenges, “Decide for yourselves what forms you wish to embrace to prepare for the glorious celebration of Easter. Going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (that is Confession) is an obligation for every Catholic Christian in preparation for the celebration of Easter hence the term ‘making your Easter duty.’ Getting to Easter without reconciliation is akin to saying to our blessed Lord that he has died for nothing.
“It has been said that the shortest road to heaven is through the confessional. It is indeed a narrow road- the road of humility and truth. Happy is the one who takes that route on a regular basis.”
Listen to the Bishop’s full message here: