The rainy weather did not stop churchgoers from receiving their crosses Ash Wednesday. With a mass led by Father Steve Agostino, the University Parish Newman Center saw hundreds of worshipers gather begin the season of Lent.
“Discipline means staying focused. Keep going, like on a spiritual treasure hunt,” Agostino said.
The Roman Catholic church uses this service to “prepare church members to better appreciate the death and resurrection of Christ through self-examination, repentance, prayer, fasting and self- denial.” The ashes displayed on worshiper’s foreheads were symbols of penance in the Christian faith, the crosses visual representations of humility and sacrifice. They are the first markers of the season of Lent.
“In Lent, we take extra time, we make extra time to be in dialogue with God,” Agostino said.
Lent lasts 40 days, allowing for six Sundays before Easter to serve as Sabbath days, or time set aside for rest and worship. There are three disciplines of Lent that include prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
They are described as “the spiritual disciplines that help us to grow closer to the Lord,” by Agostino.
People chose to sacrifice something for the entirety of the celebration, including luxury items or bad habits. Since the start of the calendar year, Agostino has tried to discipline himself by trying to go to the gym.
“I find it a great punishment. The gym smells, there are people there who are much older than I, who could beat me up in a minute,” Agostino said.
Agostino explained people view disciplines as punishments, it is essential to learn and become closer to the Lord through those experiences. Although, some students in attendance had nothing to give up, many made decisions that would allow them to prosper.
Jenna Krivosh, a sophomore theater studies major, decided to give up junk food during the season of Lent.
“I am a comfort eater, and whenever I’m upset I go ‘Okay, I need some junk food,’ so I’m going to take that out of my life for a little bit,” Krivosh said.
Natalie Nuzzo, a freshman theatre studies major, is sacrificing sweets this season. Not only is she giving them up, but she is trying to follow up on a family tradition.
“It’s something my Dad always used to do when I was younger,” Nuzzo said, “I always said once I was 18 I was going to follow his lead and try to do that too.”
The holiday represents more than just giving something up. Worshippers are representatives of God during the season of Lent.
“We are the ambassadors of Jesus Christ,” Agostino said.
Helen Yablonski is the religion reporter. Contact her a [email protected]