Dimapur, March 6: Catholic Churches in Nagaland observed Ash Wednesday, with Most Rev. Dr. James Thoppil, Bishop of Kohima, as the main celebrant for the morning service in the Catholic Cathedral Church, Kohima along with other priests. The second service in the evening was officiated Rev. Fr. Carolus Neisalhou, Vicar General of the diocese.
Bishop in his introduction said that Lent is a time when Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline for forty days. The smearing of ashes on the forehead is the sign of conversion, penance, fasting and human mortality. The day receives its special name from the blessing and imposition of ashes in the form of a cross on the foreheads with the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” he said.
Bishop exhorted the community that while fasting from certain things; they must feast on other things: “Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in others. Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life. Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude. Fast from anger; feast on patience. Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation. Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness. Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others. Fast from idle gossip; feast on the purposeful silence. Fast from personal anxiety; feast on unceasing prayer.”
He ended the homily with a prayer imploring the Holy Spirit to enlighten, to give wisdom, to change within oneself and to persevere on the journey to submit and surrender our hearts.
The most important days in the season of Lent apart from Ash Wednesday are Palm Sunday, Maundy or Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, leading to the glorious Easter, said a release issued by Fr. Victor Renthungo, Secretary to Bishop, Diocese of Kohima.
(Page News Service)