As Roman Catholics mark the First Sunday of Lent today, Boac, Marinduque Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit Jr., chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Social Communications ministry, called on the faithful to set aside the use of gadgets this Lenten season as a form of sacrifice.

Bp Marcelino Maralit (Photo CBCP)

Bishop Maralit echoed the call of His Holiness Pope Francis to set aside the use of gadgets and social media this season of Lent as a form of sacrifice and penitence and to lessen distractions as Roman Catholics observe the holiest time of the year.

“I would like to remind everyone, particularly the youth, to sacrifice something important such as the use of gadgets this Lent so they can spend more time doing valuable things like prayer for their spiritual growth. In their sacrifice, they will see their strength,” the bishop said over Radio Veritas.

The Church leader lamented the proliferation of fake news online that cause confusion and division.

“The use of gadgets and technology have a lot of benefits but with disinformation or the so-called ‘infodemic,’ it can cause a lot of disturbance in human consciousness as well as division. We should be very constructive and critical about what we read or what we watch,” Bishop Maralit said.

The prelate urged parents and guardians of the youth to guide them in their use of gadgets and social media to prevent getting exposed to fake news.

“Let us set aside the use of gadgets this Lenten season for us to be able to reflect more and interact more with our family and our community,” Bishop Maralit said.

Meanwhile, the confessional in all churches will be available for longer hours during Lent to give churchgoers more opportunity to avail of the Sacrament of Penance. The Church encourages the faithful to engage in more charity and missionary work in their local parishes, to receive Holy Communion often, and to support the Church’s Fast2Feed program, which encourages the faithful to donate the money that was saved from fasting to their parish to help feed malnourished children.

Also known as Quadragesima Sunday, which means 40th in Latin, the first Sunday of Lent signifies that there are exactly 40 days from today until Good Friday. On all Sundays of Lent, it has become customary to dispense from fasting and abstinence as Sundays are considered a day of rejoicing, being the day when the Lord resurrected. Sundays are also not counted among the 40 days of Lent.

Source: Manila Bulletin (