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Rome Reports

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Pope explains the purpose of fasting during Lent

Benedict XVI"Today the Church celebrates Ash Wednesday, the beginning of her Lenten journey towards Easter. The Christian life is itself a constant journey of conversion and renewal in the company of the Lord.” The Pope recalled that fasting, alms-giving and prayer help to deepen faith and commit to living the Gospel.He noted that fasting is not just to deprive yourself but to lead a more moderate life. He asked everyone to give alms and do good deeds for others as well as stressing the importance of pious and intense prayers during Lent.Benedict XVI also said that Lent is a good time to renew the commitments that are acquired in Baptism.Benedict XVIAs we accompany the catechumens preparing for Baptism, we open our hearts anew to the grace of our rebirth in Christ. This spiritual journey is traditionally marked by the practice of fasting, almsgiving and prayer.” For the pope, Lent is less about the observed laws and precepts and more about the person coming closer to Christ.Among the 7,000 people in the audience was a German band that dedicated a song for their countryman, Benedict XVI. CB/AECTVJMBN