Chapel service kicks off Lent for students
By Paola Nunez
On the day that marks the beginning of Lent, known as Ash Wednesday, the Catholic Student Organization gave students a look inside this largely Catholic tradition during chapel Feb. 13.
“There are a lot of things that it commemorates,” sophomore psychology major and organization member Michelle Lopez said. “Forty is an important number in the Bible. It stands for the 40 years of the Jews in the desert, Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the desert, and now it’s the 40 days that we wait before Easter. Those are the biggest three that are always talked about.”
Lent is the 40-day period of fasting and repentance considered to be preparation for the celebration of Easter and is a custom practiced by many Christians aside from Catholics, including Anglicans and Lutherans.
The majority of individuals commonly know it to be the time when they give up something that they depend on every day, or that they enjoy or consume regularly, but there is more to the tradition than that.
Graduate education major and member of CSO Angelica Villafuerte said, “For me, it’s not always about giving something up, but trying to add something to your routine that will make you closer to God.”
She said this can vary from trying to read excerpts from the Bible more often or setting aside more time for prayer each day.
The video presented at the beginning of chapel illustrated Galatians 2:20, the scripture the organization used to base their meaning of Lent to the students. It describes the way one should act and what to remember during the days leading up to Easter.
It reads, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Deacon Ronnie Lastivica from Christ the King Catholic Church joined the organization at chapel and during the homily, when the Gospel reading is explained, he said, “What Christ really wants from us is our hearts…. He wants us to be able to go out and be willing to love other people, as He has loved us, so much that we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for love of Him, and for love of God.”
He gave the reason why people give up something important and try to grow spiritually during Lent: the sacrifice signifies the resolve to give oneself to God, as Jesus gave Himself.
Senior nursing major and club president Keenan Mullins said, “I think a lot of people don’t understand what Lent is really about, in the ways in how it’s biblically based with the 40 days…. So I really appreciate that UMHB gives us the opportunity as an organization to do it. It just makes a big impact on the campus.”
Villafuerte added, “It gives them a glimpse of how Catholics worship Christ.” She went on to say how participating in the way different groups express their faith helps erase the line people draw between different sects in Christianity, because people are able to see how similar the different denominations can be.
Lopez said that this year’s Lent service went well overall. She was happy to see people go up after chapel and have the cross drawn on their foreheads with the ashes of burned palms from Palm Sunday and hopes that students enjoyed the service.