The Season of Lent, which beginson Ash Wednesday (5 March) and culminates in the
Easter Vigil (17 to 20 April), isa pilgrimage that we journey together as a Church towards the celebration ofthe Paschal Mystery. It is rooted in the 40 days Jesus prayed and fasted in thedesert before beginning His Public Ministry. It reminds us that we too have amission to fulfil by walking in Jesus’ footsteps. The Lenten Season has beenprimarily meant in the Church to prepare catechumen (those desiring to receivethe Sacrament of Baptism), but it is also meant for us who are already baptizedin order to renew our baptismal commitment through the celebration of thePassion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus (Paschal Mystery).
I humbly exhort all the faithfulto fully participate in the Lenten observances in order to
benefit maximum graces from theLord our God. Let us do this together as one family of God the Father, God’sChurch in Vasai.
The blessing and distribution ofashes takes place on the Wednesday (5 March) before the
First Sunday of Lent (9 March),normally during the celebration of Mass.
Ash Wednesday isa day of penance observed by both fasting and abstinence from
meat. The law ofabstinence binds those who are 14 and above; the law of fasting binds those
who are above 18 and below 60years. But God will be happy if observed by all those able to
fast and practice abstinence.
The practice of penance forms anecessary part of the preparation for Easter. The whole
Season of Lentis a penitential time,particularly the Fridays. Every Friday in Lent is a day of abstinence frommeat. The faithful are encouraged to practice the virtues of prayer,fasting or other acts of self-denial, and works of compassion and charity.
During Lent, ‘Alleluia’ is omitted in all celebrations. Please avoid allhymns in
which the word ‘Alleluia’ figures. Musicalinstruments may be played to give necessary
support to the singing. In otherwords, tone down or avoid all ‘orchestra type’ music. The
Stations of the Cross and otherdevotions – e.g., Passo Services on Sunday evenings which
harmonize with the Lenten Seasonand have been traditionally continued in Vasai – are strongly recommended and encouraged.
Frequentopportunities for the Sacrament of Penance will be provided throughout
the LentenSeason. Allthe faithful are encouraged to approach the sacrament during this
Season, not just once whenConfessions for the parish are formally arranged. Communal penance serviceswith individual confession and absolution are especially appropriate duringLent.
Chrism or Massof the Holy Oils
On Tuesday, 15 April 2014, I willconcelebrate the Holy Mass in Our Lady of Grace
Cathedral, Papdy, in the eveningtogether with all the Priests. Blessing of the Holy Oils and
Consecration of the Chrism willtake place during this Mass. These Holy Oils and Chrism are to be used at theSacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick and Ordination. ThisHoly Mass is a special manifestation of the Priests’ communion with theirBishop. All the faithful are invited to participate in this Holy Mass.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper iscelebrated in the evening, at a convenient time, with the
full participation of the wholelocal community. If genuinely necessary and for pastoral reasons, another Masscan be celebrated, preferably in the morning, but only for the faithful whoare in no way able to participate in the evening Mass. Care should be takenthat celebrations of this sort do not take place for the advantage of privatepersons or special small groups, and do not prejudice the evening Mass.
Good Friday is aday of penance to be observed through abstinence and fasting. The
entire day should be spent inmeditative prayer and biblical reflection. Except for the Sacraments of Penanceand Anointing of the Sick, celebration of the sacraments on this day isstrictly prohibited.
The Lent culminates at the EasterVigil. Faithful should strive to attend this Easter Vigil
Ceremony. If there are well-catechisedcatechumen at the Easter Vigil, they are baptised and
confirmed. Candidates forReception into full communion with the Church will make their
Profession of Faith by joiningthe congregation in the renewal of the Baptismal Promises, and, if they havenot yet been confirmed, they can receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
I am with you in a particular wayduring the Lenten Pilgrimage to uphold the spirit of
Fast, Abstinence, Almsgiving andPrayer.