1985-02-13 00:00:00

All Catholics in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei are dispensed from fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 20, because it coincides with the first day of the Lunar New Year celebrated by the Chinese, according to a letter signed by Archbishop Gregory Yong of Singapore, president of the Catholic Bishops´ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

The region´s Catholics were also dispensed from abstinence from meat on the two following Fridays, Feb. 23 and Mar. 1 "because of the prolonged and extended New Year festivities and celebrations," Archbishop Yong said. "As it would be out of place and inappropriate to have it on the Lunar New Year Day, we leave it to our priests to find a more suitable and appropriate day and time for the imposition of ashes."

One year ago, the bishops´ conference said the faithful are obliged to abstain from meat on all Fridays. The letter urged that if the abstinence cannot be observed, another penance be substituted, such as attendance at Mass; exercises of piety such as stations of the cross, visits to the Blessed Sacrament or saying the rosary; works of mercy such as giving alms to the poor or visiting the sick; or depriving oneself of some enjoyable food, abstaining from alcohol, smoking, or a favorite show on television or video.


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