Archbishop Tarcisius Ziyaye has urged Catholics to continue praying for the church’s leadership after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
He said this when he celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass, to mark first day of Lent, which he led in celebration at St Montfort Catholic Institute (CI) church in Blantyre.
The Archbishop said even though the resignation of head of the church on Monday shocked many faithful, it does not mean that he has stopped serving the church.
“It sounds strange because others have never heard of it before but it is in the Canon law of the church,” he said, emphasizing that the Pope indicated in his resignation that he would continue praying for the church.
Ash Wednesday ushers in the 40 days of Lent, which is a period of penance, reflection and fasting in preparation for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Bishop Ziyaye applied consecrated ash on the forehead in the shape of a cross. The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year, christened with Holy Water and scented by exposure to incense.
Ziyaye appealed to Catholics to help the needy, be more prayerful and humble during lent season.
“When you help, don’t seek publicity and praise for God will reward you even if you don’t tell the world that you have done charity work,” he said in his usual calm state.
Pope Benedict the XVI resigned as the church’s head on Monday morning on health grounds. He was ordained in April, 2005 at 78 years old after the death of Pope John Paul II. His resignation comes after Pope Gregory XII’s in 1415.