A Church official on Tuesday reminded the Catholic faithful to fast and abstain from meat as the Christian world marks Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent.
Msgr. Joselito Asis, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said Catholics can do without having their foreheads marked with the cross but they should not forget to fast and abstain from eating meat.
“In the Church, we only have two days when fasting and abstinence are required—Good Friday and Ash Wednesday,” he said.
“It’s okay if you don’t have your forehead marked with ash. It’s not a sin because it is just devotional. If you don’t get marked or fail to attend Mass, it’s not a sin but it’s a sin if you don’t go on fasting and abstinence,” he said.
Asis said fasting meant skipping at least one full meal while abstinence meant abstaining from eating meat.
He said Catholics aged 14 years old and above are supposed to abstain from meat unless they are sick. Those aged 18 and above are urged to fast. Those who are not able to fast or abstain from eating meat could do charitable acts instead.
“Acts of charity could include avoiding speaking ill of others or giving alms, prayers for the intention of others, visiting the sick, acts of mercy, or feeding the hungry,” Asis said.—Philip C. Tubeza