President Muhammadu Buhari has extended his felicitation to Christians in Nigeria on the commencement of this year’s Lenten season.
The President enjoined Christians who join their counterparts worldwide to observe the 40-day fast, to emulate the worthy example of Jesus Christ.
Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), said in a statement on Wednesday that Jesus fasted 40 days to mark the beginning of His earthly ministry.
Buhari urges Christian brothers and sisters to pray fervently for the country’s unity and progress.
The president, Adesina said, believes that Nigeria’s existence as one united country is a divine arrangement and nothing should be done to put it asunder.
President Buhari enjoins all Nigerians to intensify love, brotherliness and concern for the less privileged members of their communities in order to strengthen the bond of togetherness.
As Christians begin the period of increased prayers, piety, sacrifice and selfless services, the President wishes them and all Nigerians well.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr Stanley Aroh, Parish Priest of St. Rita Catholic Church Mararaba, has called on Christians to be discreet when carrying out their Lenten services of fasting and alms giving.
Aroh made the call during a Mass to celebrate the Ash Wednesday on Wednesday in Nasarawa.
He urged Christians not to look gloomy because they are fasting.
He said Christians were not supposed to announce to the world when giving alms, adding; ‘you don’t need to blow your trumpet.’
Referring to the scriptures, he said: “The left hand should not know what the right hand is doing.’’
“In this season of lent, I want you to anoint your head with oil and look very fine and refreshed while fasting.
“Many people usually look very sad and dull when fasting and that is not good at all, you don’t have to let the whole world know you are fasting.
“When giving alms to the needy which is our duty in this season, you should not announce what you have done because our heavenly Father who sees in secret will reward you in the open.
“So for us not to miss our blessings, we have to carry out our Lenten duties secretly,” the Rev Father said.
According to him, aside from food, Christians can also abstain from activities or things they derive pleasure from, such as drinking of alcohol, clubbing, smoking, and excessive talking.
He added that, there was need for Christians to be sober and reflect on the sufferings of Jesus Christ for our salvation and that these social activities were distractions to achieving a solemn Lenten season.
The Parish Priest also task Christians on forgiving spirit, urging them to learn to forgive easily in this Lenten period and beyond.
He added that any good habit imbibed in this season of Lenten should not stop after the Lent to enable Christians build pious life and be candidates of heaven.
Aroh advised Christians to celebrate the Saint Valentine Day that coincided with Lenten with caution.
He reminded Christians to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, adding that Valentine should be celebrated in low key.