SELF-DENIAL, not self-exaltation, should be the attitude of politicians who will be campaigning during the Lenten season, said a priest during a mass observing Ash Wednesday yesterday.

“For candidates, saving the nation is not about self-exaltation but about self-denial,” said Rev. Fr. Bryan Brigoli, one of the parish priests of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.

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Brigoli, who was one of six priests of the Cathedral who conducted hourly masses in observing Ash Wednesday, is urging politicians to strictly observe the first day of the 40-day celebration of Lent without the usual politicking.

The practice of fasting and abstinence, according to Brigoli, should not only be practiced with food or drink.

“It should involve the denial of pleasures and luxuries and the practice of habits that we usually dislike,” said Brigoli.

He said politicians are not spared by the Lenten practices.

Bickering

Earlier, Msgr. Esteban Binghay, Episcopal vicar of the Cebu Archdiocese, said political bickering and mudslinging should be prevented, especially during Lent.

On Ash Wednesday, the Catholic flock is called to fast and abstain from eating meat or even eating more. The sick and those too young or too old are exempted from this practice.

On the eve of Ash Wednesday, parishes collect used up palms and burn them to ashes to be used to mark the foreheads of the faithful. The imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the faithful signifies the mortality of man.

As the priest marks the ash on one’s forehead, he then says “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.”

Palm Sunday will be celebrated after 40 days to open the formal Lenten week, which will begin on March 28 and end on Easter Sunday, April 4.