Catholics of Iskenderun started the Lenten period with Ash Wednesday
The Ash Wednesday, which is the start of the Lent was held in Iskenderun Catholic Church with a ceremony led by the parish priest Rev. Dariusz Dogondke. During the rite, Father Dogondke poured ash in the form of a cross on the heads of the believers and blessed them.
Father Dogondke in his sermon said: “God told us; ‘Return to me with all your heart’. Our Father grants us a special time in the Lent for our repentance, our return to Him and He purifies us from everything that prevents us for being with Jesus. The Father sent Jesus to give us a new life, His own life which is full of love and wisdom. We will pour ash on our heads soon. This will be a sign that we started the Lent. Let us pray how Jesus taught us, saying ‘Our Father in Heaven, forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ Jesus does not use the word “as” here only in his teaching. For example, He says ‘ Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5.48); ‘Be merciful as your father is merciful’ (Luke 6.36); and ‘I am giving you a new command; Love each other as I love you…’ (John 13,34) It would be impossible to follow the Lord’s command if the divine model in question was taken from the outside. Here, there is a vital and heartfelt participation in the Love, Mercy and holiness of our God. The trick lies in the word ‘heartily’. Christian prayer requires to forgive your enemies. This forgiveness changes the heart. This essentially divine forgiveness has neither measure nor limit. This forgiveness is the basic condition for the reconciliation of God with His children, their Father and people.”
With this ritual, the Catholics of İskenderun began the Lent which will endure for 40 days until Easter. The church community fasts from the Ash Wednesday until the Good Friday. The 40-day fasting is held to remember the 40 days that Jesus Christ spent in prayer and fasting in the desert before starting His service.
(SAT-7 Türk/ İlyas Edip TERBİYELİ-İskenderun)