By Christina Hermoso
“The season of Lent provides an opportunity for Catholics to focus their attention more on the poor and the needy,” a Catholic Church leader said.
Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stressed, the Church and the faithful cannot simply ignore the suffering of others that call for concrete action.
“Our faith must be matched with concrete expressions of charity and love for others,” the prelate said in a CBCP News post.
Christendom marks the Fourth Sunday of Lent today, a seasonthat calls for fasting, abstinence, self-renewal, repentance, andmore charity work.
David recently led the blessing and inauguration of a housing site for about 40 relocated urban poor families in Malabon. He noted that a huge number of parishioners under the Diocese of Kalookan, which covers the cities of Caloocan, Navotas, and Malabon, are informal settlers.
“It’s bothersome that until now many people can’t afford a decent house. Why? It is because of poverty! We need and should help each other more,” the bishop stressed.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church, by tradition, celebrates theFourth Sunday of Lent as a Sunday of joy and rejoicing.
Also known as Laetare Sunday, from the first words of theIntroit at mass today, “Laetare Jerusalem!” (Rejoice, O
Jerusalem!), Eucharistic celebrations will highlight the nearnessof the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, which will beobserved on April 1this year.
With the theme “Hope and Rejoicing,” church hymns will speak of joy, hope, and consolation. Musical accompaniment,which has been silent during the preceding three Sundays, will be used during the mass, which will be celebrated like Gaudete Sunday during the Advent season. The Gloria will be sung while Church altars, which are usually sparingly decorated with flowers during Lent, will be adorned to signify joy and rejoicing.
“Lent is half over and Easter is near. The shift to a joyousmood is meant to encourage the faithful to persevere ferventlyto the end of this holy season as well as to focus on the hopeand rejoicing that the Resurrection of Christ is near,” Churchofficials said.
The Church continues to encourage the faithful to go to confession, to receive Holy Communion, to support the Church’s Lenten programs, and to do charity work.