Newman Center begins Lent with Ash Wednesday activities


Father Steve Agostino leads a mass at the Newman Center, Thursday, March 13, 2013.

Ashlyne Wilson

Ash Wednesday starting on March 5 will signal the start of Lent, in which the Kent State Newman Center will hold activities all Lent season for students to gain a closer connection to God.

Lent is a 40-day period leading up to Easter that involves an intensification of prayer, fasting and Almsgiving.

To encourage the virtue of prayer within the Newman Center, a new prayer partnering program will start this year. The program pairs the students of the Newman Center with non-student members of the church to encourage each other to pray. Out of the three disciplines, the campus minister MaryLynn Delfino said, prayer is the one people struggle with the most.

For Almsgiving, the Newman Center will take part in “Rice Bowl,” a program funded by the Catholic Relief Service, to collect donations for those in need around the world.    

The fasting discipline of Lent is the most popular of the three. Delfino said that fasting, like all of the disciplines, is supposed to have a positive effect on our lives.

“It’s the idea that I give up this thing that may be some type of compulsion or addiction that I think I can’t live without and this brings me closer to God because I am reorienting my priorities,” she said.

She has not decided on what to give up for Lent yet but said that she will give more time for prayer.

“Instead of thinking about what to give up, sometimes I try to do more. I think about giving a half hour of prayer instead of 15 minutes,” she said.

In addition to the Lenten activities of the Newman Center, the student members will be participating in activities of their own to bring themselves closer to God.

“I’m doing a quite literal fasting,” a sophomore physics major Paul Billig said. “I’m going to see if I can eat vegetarian food the whole time. I tried in high school, but only made it about three weeks. It takes a lot of will power.”

While a lot of students choose to give up meat as a part of fasting for Lent, other students chose a more unique route.

Donovan LaDuke, a senior computer science major, said that he will give up spending so much time on the Internet.

“I find myself really busy. I think a lot of the time that I waste is just browsing Facebook for no reason at all, so I think if I could free up some more time, that would give me the opportunity to read some of the Bible, reflect, pray and get closer to God,” he said.

During past Lent seasons, Janece Schaffer, a junior integrated health science major, chose a different type of fasting.

“In the past, I’ve given up on cosmetics things,” she said. “I stopped straightening my hair and using eyeliner because I thought I was putting too much into vanity. I wanted to find a way to spend my time in a more prayerful way.”

The Newman Center will hold four Masses on Ash Wednesday, the first service starting at 7 a.m.

For more information about Lent and the Newman Center, visit the Newman Center’s website.

Contact Ashlyne Wilson at [email protected].