Radio Veritas President Rev. Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual encourages Filipino Catholics to fast during the Lent and take part in the “No Meat Friday National Campaign.”
In his homily on the Ash Wednesday Mass at the Our Lady of Veritas Chapel, Fr. Pascual urged the faithful to observe the penitential abstinence from meat during this season as part of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.
“In this season of lent, let us offer all Fridays throughout the year to make amends of our personal sins and the sins of mankind which we are call upon in union with Christ Crucified through our continued abstinence from meat, ” Fr. Pascual added.
Fr. Pascual who also serves as the Executive Director of Caritas Manila, the social development arm of the Archdiocese of Manila also mentioned the benefits that can be obtained spiritually, physically and environmentally by abstaining from meat consumption.
The abstinence from meat is a form of penance in honor of Jesus’ death. The act of abstinence also gives the chance to voluntarily give up something good for the spiritual benefit.
In addition to the spiritual benefit, he said eating less meat would improve people’s health. It is scientifically proven that the reduction of meat consumption could prolong one’s life by up to 20%. That same study from Harvard Medical School also indicates that each serving of red meat increased the risk of death by 13%.
Meanwhile, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent (18%) than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
He also urged people to do works of charity from whatever resources they are able to attain from the penitential abstinence from meat. This, he said will enable the act of sacrifice to find holism which disposes people to love God above all creatures.
Likewise, His Eminence Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal said in his pastoral letter for Ash Wednesday also urges the faithful to do works of charity during the Lenten season.
“The Lenten season not only calls us to conversion, to what the prophet Joel calls as a “rendering of hearts” (Jl 2:13) – but it is also directs us to reflect o and to practice charity, “the very heart of Christian life.” Charity is, above all, to be exercised in our dealings with our neighbors. Thus, it requires a generous disposition to perform concrete good works, and also, a genuine concern for those who are needy and who suffer,” Cardinal Tagle said.
No meat Friday concept is a form of abstinence that has been part of Christian traditions for centuries. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday (Canon Law 1252).