Wednesday, 22 February 2023
The Catholic Community of the Fiji Corrections Service celebrated Ash Wednesday this morning at the Corrections Chapel in Suva.
The special mass was led by Fr Donald Melteras from the Diocese of Port Vila but on Special Assignment lecturing at the Pacific Regional Seminary.
Fr Donald was at the new chapel for the first time, but is not a stranger to the FCS.
Fr Melteras, first worked with inmates at Naboro – 3 years ago on two occasions coming in on Sundays to celebrate mass with inmates at Minimum Corrections Center.
“I am honoured and happy that the FCS has invited me back again today to help mark an important date in the calendar where we are asked to abstain from our indulgences and encouraged to reach out to the less privileged for the next 40 days,’’ Fr Donald said.
“Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Its purpose is to focus the Christian’s heart on repentance and prayer, usually through personal and communal confession”
Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time ea
ch year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.
The ashes of this holiday symbolize two main things: death and repentance. “Ashes are equivalent to dust, and human flesh is composed of dust or clay (Genesis 2:7), and when a human corpse decomposes, it returns to dust or ash.”
The Lent period ends on Easter Sunday.
In addition, today, the FCS also remembered the late Father Jo Tuimavule, who last year was the first Catholic Priest to hold mass at the new Corrections Chapel.
Sadly, just a few weeks after that Fr Tuimavule, who is well known in the catholic community in the work of pastoral counselling, passed away after a short illness.
Before that he had mentioned to the FCS catholic community that he would be delighted to conduct mass at the Corrections Chapel more in future.
May he rest in Peace!