FASTING: Stella Maris Catholic Parish priest Father Joe Duffy is giving up beer for Lent.
FASTING: Stella Maris Catholic Parish priest Father Joe Duffy is giving up beer for Lent. Warren Lynam

Parish priest passes up 'holy water' for Lent

FATHER Joe Duffy hopes he can come good on his commitment to give up "the holy water" during a time of reflection marked by personal sacrifice.

The Stella Maris Catholic Parish priest has tried before to abstain from beer during Lent but is yet to complete the challenge.

Lent begins today.

"I enjoy Lent because it brings a change in diet," Fr Duffy said.

"I'll be trying very hard to say goodbye to the holy water."

He said he did enjoy drinking beer.

"I've tried before but I've failed but that hasn't stopped me from trying again."

But deeper than the change in diet he said Lent was time for people to reflect on what they had.

Some people give up eating meat until Easter, while others might fast for one meal a day.

Alcohol and sweet foods are other common sacrifices.

"It makes so many people feel guilty because they know they are on a good thing and are not necessarily accountable for it.

"Lent is the Christian answer to a self-indulgent country."

Fr Duffy said people could set aside the money that would have been spent on what they sacrificed and then give that money to people in need.

He said Caritas Australia's Project Compassion was one example but people could choose their own worthy cause.

"Fasting for its own sake is just dieting."

He acknowledged people living below the poverty line could not do that.

"I'm aware of people who are literally living Lent the whole year because that's all they've got."

Today is Ash Wednesday, when traditionally Catholics attending mass as well as some other Christian faiths will have a cross marked on their forehead with ash.


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