MANILA - Malacanang has called for "small sacrifices" as the country starts to mark the Lenten season with Ash Wednesday today.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said: "As a nation that has been blessed with the guidance and ineffable compassion of the Redeemer, we are all asked in this special season to take this opportunity to undertake small sacrifices, and to examine our individual consciences."
"It is by doing so that we grow in faith and humility, which strengthen our common bond as a nation."
Lacierda also had a message for those undertaking the Ash Wednesday rituals today.
"Let us bear in mind what Scripture says: For dust you are and to dust you will return. This reminds us that it is only through authentic service to our neighbors, and the commitment to truth and justice, that we can bring about meaningful change in our respective communities."
He also revealed that President Aquino has his own Lenten sacrifices.
"The President abstains. Sometimes, he fasts. He'd always remind us, Friday already, walang karne. In fact, staff sa Palace alam na nila pag Friday fish lang ang hinahanda," he said.
"He’s very aware of the Lenten season, very conscious of sacrifices during Lenten season. Fasting only required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, optional during Fridays, abstinence encouraged on Fridays we were reminded."
Lacierda could not immediately say if Aquino heard Mass or has participated in the ritual of putting ash on his forehead as part of Ash Wednesday.