March 17, 2022
The Diocese of Penang launched its Lenten Campaign on Ash Wednesday with the theme Together We Restore, Renew, and Rebuild. Spearheaded by Caritas Malaysia, Penang Diocese, the theme, intended to be part of a three-year project, focuses on restoration this year.
In his sermon, Bishop Sebastian Francis said, this year’s theme is in line with what Jesus commanded us to do — to pray, fast and get involved in almsgiving (doing good deeds).
“We know that what Jesus is saying, and what the theme suggests, go together. Our way of restoring, renewing, and rebuilding is not based purely on human effort. It involves and includes prayer, fasting and almsgiving (which invokes divine intervention.) It is our way of restoring, renewing, and rebuilding ourselves, our families, our communities, our Church, and our nation.”
The bishop also quoted the Holy Father’s Lenten message, inspired from St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians in verse 6 chapter 9. Essentially, St Paul encourages believers to not get tired of doing good, for in due time, they will reap the benefits. He also touched on the few aspects that the Pope said we should never tire of – never grow tired of praying, never grow tired of asking for forgiveness, never grow tired of uprooting evil from our lives and never grow tired of doing active charity towards our neighbours.
However, in an interesting twist of events, the bishop acknowledged that many were indeed tired either in body, mind, spirit or emotionally.
“But I would like to tell Jesus and the Pope that some of us are tired. Some of us are exhausted, some of us are burnt out, some of us are recovering from illness, some of us are frustrated, some of us are angry, lonely, afraid. Just see what is going on. War, pandemic, political instability, natural disasters. Confusion, uncertainty, division and maybe even, a crisis of faith.”
But then, he quotes Matthew 11: 28-30 in which Jesus beckons all those who are tired and weary to come to Him so that He can give them rest. To this, the bishop added more comforting messages.
“If you are tired and have lost your motivation to do good in whatever form, move by the Holy Spirit, not by your own human effort. Then I will say rest. Those of us who still have the energy, we will restore, renew, and rebuild with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We will do it together as the Body of Christ. We will do it for you and with you if you are unable to do it for whatever reason. You are not alone while you rest. When you recover, you can support your brethren.”
The launch of the Lenten Campaign began with a recorded speech from the bishop that spoke about the importance of moving forward together after surviving a turbulent time. The speech also touched on the necessity of restoring and preserving Mother Earth.
After which, the Love Squad — made up of more than 30 CEC youths, animated the Synodal and Lenten Campaign theme song, titled Together. Bishop Sebastian then launched the Caritas website that has the resources for the Lenten Campaign and presented a mock cheque of RM145,000 to the Penang Diocese Caritas representative who will distribute the cheque to the 29 parishes in the diocese for their Lenten Campaign efforts. The RM145,000 comes from a special fund, whereby each parish will receive RM5,000 to promote and support their Lenten Campaign initiatives in welfare and integral human development.
Visitors can also go to https://caritaspenang.com for more information about the Lenten Campaign resources and initiatives in the diocese of Penang.
Caritas is the charitable arm of the Roman Catholic Church. It is to spearhead the church’s social mission, to respond to humanitarian crisis, promote integral human development and advocate on the causes of poverty and violence.
Caritas Penang comes under the jurisdiction of The Titular Roman Catholic Bishop of Penang.
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