MANILA, Feb. 18, 2015—As the eve of the Lunar New Year coincides with Ash Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Manila allowed certain members of its faithful to be exempted from the holy obligation of fasting and abstinence at the start of the Lenten season.
“We grant dispensation from the obligation of fasting and abstinence to our Chinese-Filipino and Chinese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Manila from the afternoon of February 18, 2015 until midnight,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said in a circular dated February 6.
Tagle said that this dispensation was made “in view of the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, its cultural and spiritual importance and the traditional practices associated with it.”
However, those who will avail of the dispensation must engage themselves in other forms of penance and acts of mercy and charity to the poor and suffering to keep with the penitential spirit of the season of Lent, he further noted.
“May our celebration of the start of a new year and the Lenten Season bring us to the path of renewal and conversion towards God’s Kingdom,” Tagle said.
Ash Wednesday, which requires fasting and abstinence among the faithful, marks the first day of the Lenten season. The faithful flock churches on this day to hear mass and have ashes applied on their forehead, signifying repentance. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)