Ash Wednesday (Feb 18, 2015) falls on Chinese New Year Eve. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei has decided that Masses are to be arranged with imposition of ashes on that day.  However, fasting can take place on Ash Wednesday itself or on another day to be decided by the individual.

The decision was made by the Bishops’ Conference for pastoral reasons to facilitate maximum participation. It tries to accommodate the cultural needs of those who are celebrating the family reunion dinner on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Others may continue with the norm of Ash Wednesday.Would you fast and abstain?

In view of the announcement above, Catholic News surveyed some Catholics about their Ash Wednesday plans. Here is what they say:

'I will try to fast on Ash Wednesday. I will fast from facebook and eating dessert during the entire Lenten season. No meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. Among the three pillars of Lent (prayer, fasting and works of charity) prayer is my weakness. I will spend more time in prayer during Lent.’  
Ms Pamela Aw-Young, Church of St Ignatius

‘My family will fast on Ash Wednesday. Our full meal will be the reunion dinner.’
– Mr Francis Lee, Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace

‘I will fast and abstain after the Lunar New Year period.’
– A Religious who declined to be named

‘I plan to fast on Feb 23. During Lent, I will fast from meat and zip my lips from speaking negatives.’
– Mr Kevin Toh, Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

‘My abstinence and fast for Lent, from Ash Wednesday onwards:
  1. Impatience – to help with my ministry and life to be more attentive and empathetic to people whom I am attending;
  2. Attitude of rushing things along – to slow down and be more focused with the more important things in life while giving my time to people needing genuine help;
  3. One full meal – to be in solidarity with those who have no basic essentials and food and to appreciate what we already have and to be able to share freely.’
– Fr Aloysius Ong, Assistant Priest, Church of  Our Lady Queen of Peace

‘I plan to practise abstinence throughout this coming 40 days [of Lent]. I would mostly abstain from eating too much. To me, Lent is a time of penance and change in preparation for Easter. So with that I feel that stepping out of your comfort zone during this season is important.’
– Mr Miguel Acedera, Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace         

‘I usually abstain from meat during lunch every day and fast on Fridays. As I am the only Catholic in my household, I take my family into consideration when we plan meals as we have breakfast and dinner together. My mother also tries to have fish instead of meat for dinner on Fridays so it’s not just my sacrifice but hers too, which I appreciate very much.

During Lent, I will fast from worries and fears by giving them to the Lord to take charge of. I’ll pray a Hail Mary when these worries and fears come to mind in the mist of prayer and work.’
- Ms Pat Lim, Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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