Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, O.P., the new vice rector of the UST Central Seminary. FILE PHOTO. (Photo by Mary Jazmin D. Tabuena/ The Varsitarian)

DOMINICAN Prior Provincial Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, O.P. reminded the faithful that the Lenten season is not only a time of restraint but also a time of service to God, during the University Mass for Ash Wednesday at Plaza Mayor last Feb. 26.

“Lenten season is not a matter of depriving ourselves, [for] I hope we can do more service. It is the time to pray more, not just during our examinations and when we need God, for it is a time to be close to Him,” said Sipalay, the vice chancellor of UST, in his homily.

Echoing the words of Fr. Dominic Hoffman, O.P., the Dominican theologian and spiritual writer, Sipalay said it is not enough to do good deeds during Lent. It is also important to “say no to bad things.”

“Bad habits, laziness. Maybe gossiping. Simple pleasures. If you could already have self-discipline to say yes to good things, maybe it is also a good practice to say no to bad things,” Sipalay said.

He said Catholics should challenge themselves to live in the word of God during this season.

“I hope and pray as we receive the discipline of Lent, we would prepare for the greatest celebration because it reminds us of our mortality. We are for Christ and that we return to Him,” Sipalay said.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten Season which recalls Jesus’s struggle for 40 days and nights in the desert. The ashes imposed on the faithful symbolize the dust from which God made human beings.

This year, the University followed the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ guidelines that allows the sprinkling of dry ashes on top of the head as a precaution against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).


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