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Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

​With the solemn celebration of Ash Wednesday, we begin the sober and sacred season of Lent. This is the opportune time when the Church contemplates in silence and in prayer the passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus.

​The memorial of the Paschal Mystery is once again brought to our attention. During the days of lent, in deep sorrow, we confess our sins; with humble and contrite hearts we recognize our need of God’s mercy and compassion; we seek the strength of the Holy Spirit to renew our efforts ‘to turn away from sin and to believe and live the Gospel.’

​Though sober and serene in spirit, lent invites us to embrace the Paschal Mystery of Jesus with profound gratitude and joy. Our Lord’s passion, death and Resurrection achieved our salvation, and has afforded us New Life. This gift of New Life is what we give thanks for in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

​Lent challenges us my brothers and sisters to a new way of life patterned after the Cross of Jesus. And the Cross of Jesus is the way of charity and sacrifice.

​Let us love more and sacrifice more to purify and transform our persons, our communities, our environment. Let us be more concerned for the good of others and dump away our selfishness. Let us spend more time in silent prayer, and free ourselves from the addiction and distraction of gadgets.

​Lent is about God who, in spite of our sins, offers us His mercy and compassion through the self-oblation of His Son Jesus. Let us not snub the graciousness of God.

Together we turn to our God crying from our hearts: “Be merciful to us O God, be merciful” (Psalm 123:3a). ​Be assured of my prayers for a meaningful rediscovery and experience of Lent. God bless you!

+ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, OCD Archbishop of Caceres Ash Wednesday February 26, 2020

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