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Key role of religion


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Key role of religion

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BARBADOS IS BECOMING an irreligious community as children are having limited access to church and religion.
This point was made by rector of the St Thomas Parish Church, Rev. Dr Michael A. Clarke, yesterday morning.
He was speaking to the DAILY NATION after a service at which he addressed 336 students from Welches Primary School and Hillaby Turners Hall.
Clarke said the world was becoming “extremely secularized”, where children “are exposed to information about any and everything”.
It was unfortunate, he added, that there were too many children not involved in any religious discipline.
He noted that while it was natural for a child to choose its own path when it came of age, it was important for parents and leaders to play their roles in shaping their charges’ lives through helping them to build a firm foundation.
“Religion has a way of [building a firm foundation] whether it is the Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist,” Clarke said. “Even if when the children get to a certain age and choose other options, it is important in their crucial years that they are exposed to a religion.
“We have to help them to see the importance of observing dates like Ash Wednesday and Easter. We have to give them something to focus on, something other than all the external information.”
Ash Wednesday marks the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshippers.
In an address to the nation, Roman Catholic Bishop Jason Gordon urged Christians to use Lent this year as an intense time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving or charity.
Gordon said that for many the spiritual practice of Lent had been eroded as Christians barely practised or remembered its significance.
“I ask Catholic, Anglican or Methodist, Pentecostal or Evangelical, young and old alike, to generously commit his or herself to these spiritual practices of fasting, prayer and charity. It is through the depth and fervour of our commitment that we will find the grace necessary for the renewal of our families, ourselves and our nation,” said Gordon.
Throughout yesterday, hundreds of Christians gathered at churches to participate in Ash Wednesday services. (AH)

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