Wednesday, February 22, 2012:
Lent starts today
Today is Ras ir-Randan or L-Erbgħa tar-Rmied, that is, Ash Wednesday, the day marking the beginning of Lent. Lent is a season characterised by sacrifice, reflection and fasting, which leads Christians into the celebration of Easter, when we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord. The liturgical colour is purple.
At St George’s, this penitential day dawned with the imponent, though elegant, miraculous image of the great Crucifix displayed in the central apse, overlooking the main altar. As expected, people from all walks of life are flocking to St George’s to participate in one of the Holy Masses of the day, and to receive a sprinkling of blessed ash on their foreheads, to the priest’s words “Repent, and hear the Good News”.
Therefore, Lent is also the season when listening to the “Good News” is expected by every Catholic to be given top priority. For this reason, as usual, the parish organises the so-called Eżerċizzi tar-Randan, four courses of five Lenten talks each, targeting the married couples, adolescents, adults and children. The first set of Lenten sermons commences this Monday at 4.15pm, targeting the general public, and the talks will be conducted by Mgr George Bezzina. Those for married couples, the week after, will be conducted by Rev. Carmelo Mercieca, Archpriest of Xewkija. This weekend, the parish office is organising a two-day spiritual live-in for a good group of adolescents in Għajnsielem.
Moreover, during Lent, utter importance is given to the liturgical celebration of the Word of God, in the solemn celebration of Vespers every Sunday evening, at 4.30pm. All liturgical, spiritual and pastoral appointments for this special season are programmed in a booklet which, at the time of writing, has arrived in all the households of the parish. The programme covers devotions and services offered at St George’s between Ash Wednesday and Domenica in Albis, that is Sunday on Easter Sunday. It also contains spiritual inserts and practical information. Copies of the booklet can be acquired from the parish office.