ASIA/SRI LANKA - Lent, "a journey through trials and suffering, towards full joy"

Thursday, 23 February 2023 pontifical mission societies   lent   area crisis   prayer   charity  

Colombo (Agenzia Fides) - "What we are living this year is a Lent somewhat different from previous years, because Sri Lanka is going through a situation of great economic, political, social, and even moral suffering. We see a decline of moral values , especially in political life and in those who should act for the common good: it is a very unpleasant situation and one that makes us reflect", says to Fides Father Basil Rohan Fernando, a priest of the Archdiocese of Colombo and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies on the island of the Indian subcontinent.
"Many citizens, many families, including Catholics - recalls the priest - find themselves in a real situation of poverty and have no food to feed themselves. Many are in a state of deprivation and precariousness. This is why Lent is a time of return to God and a time to experience the works of mercy: we try to spend time with God in prayer and Adoration, we celebrate the Stations of the Cross every Friday, and we offer acts of charity toward the needy, of whom there are many".
Father Fernando notes, "As priests and religious we are called to comfort those who suffer and to give not only material but also spiritual nourishment. In this sense, we have activated the national network of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the dioceses, asking them to celebrate a special daily Mass, every day for 40 days, to support the people of the nation who are tried by the crisis, so that the Lord can instill in everyone a light of hope".
In the local Church, reports Father Fernando, Pope Francis' Message for Lent has been translated into the local language and disseminated to all communities "with the intention of preparing our hearts to joyfully celebrate the Resurrection of Christ". The Pope's words, he resumes "help us to go or deeper in our spiritual journey, precisely to learn to live joy even in times of trial".
All the Catholic faithful in this time, he reports, "begin an inner journey, filled with penitential acts, which is a spiritual journey towards full joy. We say to the faithful: in our condition we are called to fast from sadness in order to be filled with gratitude to God and to trust Him. We must fast from bitterness, selfishness and rancor, to be reconciled with God and with our neighbor and to savor the full joy that only God gives us". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2023)