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Christians begin 6 weeks’ Lenten Period

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Mosgr Prof. Cletus Tanimu Gotan

Christians all over the world have entered yet another Lenten period, which is expected to last for six weeks (that’s 40 days) excluding Sundays. The period is dedicated to prayers, fasting and reflection. 

It all starts with ASH WEDNESDAY, which is the beginning of the first day, to usher in adherents, especially Catholics, into the Lenten Season. It’s really for Christians (all over the world), who usually observe it.

Speaking with journalists on the Lenten Season, Vicar-General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, Mosgr Prof. Cletus Tanimu Gotan, explained that, “This period is supposed to be in preparation, celebration of Christ’s Pascal Mystery in what we call Easter Tridiuum, which comes during the Holy Week.

“Ash Wednesday introduces us to the period of Lent, which is a special time when we try to refocus and we pre-enter the place of truth to our hearts. It is a beginning of a season, which calls us to do self-examination as well as self-denial into deeper contemplation about the mystery and the Grace of God’s Mercy and to be more radical towards those in need of comfort sustenance and hope.

“I think that the Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are mortal, and it causes us to pause and look at our lives and remember what we are made of, remember where we are going, and it’s to encourage us to fully immerse ourselves in the Lenten season,” he said.

According to him, “Lent is a period of ‘intensive prayers.’ It is a period of fasting and abstinence, a time when we look at mortality and try to refocus on our lives and see how we are going to live better with fellow human beings.”

The Vicar-General noted that, “It’s the period when Christians will also look at how they are going to re-address themselves, particularly in areas that they have failed. So, this is the time of prayer and fasting.”

Mosgr Gotan explained further that, “Some Christians have some pious actions that they are going to the Stations of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Stations of the Cross is the enactment of what happened to Jesus on his last day in the world.

“When we refocus on that, we will see actually what the generality of people today are passing through, but yet, Jesus was crucified so many years ago. Even today, you and I are persecuting others, murdering others, kidnapping others,” he stressed.

The Vicar-General then urged Christians to always remember the word of Jesus that says, “What you do and didn’t do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did or you did not do it to me.” It also teaches us about our mortality.

“The Wednesday – that is, the Ash Wednesday – is the day when people go to the Churches and ashes will be imposed on them and they are reminded that they are ‘dust, and unto dust they shall return,’” he said, and advised Nigerians, particularly at this time, to remember that “we are not here forever; we are here in a market place and, sooner or later, we would go back to our Creator.”

According to him, “It is not the going back that is the important thing, but the fact is that, when we return we are going to face Him, who has come as our Saviour, as our Judge, and that is where we are going to give an account of all the acts that we have done, whether good or bad.

“It is a period of intensive prayers, more serious, arms giving, when you are able to share with those who are less fortunate, and you can fast for food and hope that, whatever you save from the fasting, give it to the less fortunate, then yourselves,” Mosgr Gotan urged, while appealing to leadership of the country, saying, “Please, come to our aid, because charity begins at home, if we are able to help those outside and not only ourselves.”

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