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Fiji Time: 2:21 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Catholics mark first day of lent

Dawn Gibson
Thursday, February 14, 2013

YESTERDAY marked an annual event in the Christian calendar — Ash Wednesday.

To commemorate the day, Catholics from around the country attended mass in their individual parishes and having ash placed on their foreheads to remind them of their origin and destiny and the call for repentance.

According to the Archbishop elect Father Dr Peter Chong, this was an important day in the church's calendar.

"Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season. It is a time whereby Christians are called to a deeper renewal of their life through prayer, alms giving and fasting," Father Chong said.

He said the main theme throughout the Lenten season was the inner conversion of a person's life.

"This means the moving transition from a sinful life to one that is more in the footsteps of Jesus Christ himself," Father Chong said.

"So one of the main themes, one could say, is the conversion towards a heightened spirit," he said.

At yesterday's mass, a priest or a lay minister made the sign of the cross while placing ashes on the foreheads of each church member saying, "remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return".

The ashes used were made of burnt palms that were blessed during last year's Palm Sunday.

The new Archbishop explained that the ash was a biblical symbol. The Lenten season lasts 40 days and is characterised, although not restricted to, believers giving up a drink, food, habit for the 40-day fasting period.

It ends on Easter Sunday that falls on March 31.