On Ash Wednesday, a group of students at St. Margaret College Verdala Secondary School together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc and school Spiritual Director Fr Carmelo Spiteri ocd launched the Pope’s slogan: ‘Give up gossiping for Lent’. Students were inspired by the message of Pope Francis whom on the 3rd March while reciting the Angelus Prayer in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, he urged all the faithful to reflect upon the line of the day’s Gospel: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” The Pope said: “We all know it usually is easier or more comfortable to notice and condemn the defects and sins of others rather than seeing our own with that kind of clarity,” 
So Lent is the time to open our eyes from not going looking for others’ defects, but look first at our own. The Pope continues saying that if someone thinks that have no defects he/she is wrong, “It’s something that because of original sin we all have, and it leads us to condemn others.” “We are experts in finding the bad things in others and not seeing our own” the Pope said.
The Pope urges all Catholics to ask themselves, “Am I a hypocrite who smiles and then turns around to criticize and destroy with my tongue?” He said “If, by the end of Lent, we are able to correct this a bit and not go around always criticizing others behind their backs, I assure you (the celebration of) Jesus’ resurrection will be more beautiful.”
During this Lenten celebration in class, students asked how to be good and resist temptation. Teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc replied by quoting Pope Francis who says to youths that the way to resist the devil, is to pray to Jesus and to his mother and to talk to one’s parents, catechists or priests when temptation is lurking. Prayer and talking to someone good and wise also is important when trying to make a decision.
Then Fr Carmelo reminded students that Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer, fasting, and repentance. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of the faithful while the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” are said to them by the priest.
At the end of this session students participated in the placing of repentance ashes and returned back to their seats reflecting upon the theme: GIVE UP GOSSIPING FOR LENT.
Lent is a good time for everyone to concentrate on controlling the temptation to gossip about others and instead trying to correct one’s own faults and defects.
Written by Aidan Bugeja, Jake Gatt, Schembri Kieran and Chantelle Vella.
Students at St. Margaret College Senior Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua, Malta.

St Margaret College Secondary School students launch the slogan  – Give up gossiping for Lent