March 6 is Ash Wednesday, the start of a 40-day fast known as Lent observed by millions of Christians from denominations across the globe. It’s a time of preparation for Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During Lent, Christians take up a number of time-honoured practices that underscore the penitential nature of the season, notably, fasting, prayer, and alms-giving. In the past, and to this day, many choose to “give up” certain foods or entertainments. However, there is an increasing emphasis on “giving of”– giving of your time and other resources to help those in need.
As an example, many Christians in Toronto and other Ontario cities and towns volunteer with Out of the Cold. Faith communities offer meals and shelter to the homeless in their areas one night a week from November to April – and they need lots of helping hands to welcome their guests.
Others will make contributions to charities that help care for the vulnerable and less fortunate in our communities, including youth, the elderly, persons with addictions and persons with disabilities.
Since Easter is a time of rejoicing and plenty for most Ontarians, it’s fitting that the time preceding it be spent looking at ways we can do more for those who have less – and resolve to do better, not just during Lent, but all year round.
To all those celebrating a Lent, we wish a season filled with moments of reflection, light and outreach.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer