Ash Wednesday Service

The Calendar Marked the Official Start of the Lenten Season Today, February 22


Ash Wednesday marks the first day of lent.

Daniel Kent, Reporter

With Spring nearing, so too is the most holy day of the year, Easter, but Catholics must celebrate the liturgical season of Lent first. The season is a 40-day period that begins with Ash Wednesday and culminates in Holy Week which includes Palm Sunday and the Triduum. Catholics use this time to reflect, repent, and look forward to the second coming of the Lord. 

Religion teacher Mr. Cole Hepp said, “Lent (is a) penitential season,” he continued, “the symbol of ashes comes from various places in the Old Testament, and Christ also referred to it in the New Testament. In the Gospels, ashes symbolize repentance, us admitting our weaknesses and sins and turning back to God in these 40 days.” Hepp also explained that the phrase “From dust we come to dust you shall return”, which is said when receiving ashes, is a reminder of peoples’ humanity and need for God. 

Coming off of Mardi Gras sugar highs, students and staff attended the service today which included three songs sung by the Concert Choir, two readings, a homily and the distribution of ashes. Junior Sammy Parr anticipated a different sense of “reverence” during the celebration. The service was not a full mass, however, Hepp emphasized, “We experience God in so many ways through the Liturgy of the Word and the sharing of a homily.” Nonetheless, the service was a meaningful start to Lent for many students and staff. 

Lent is not just about giving up, but giving in. Do you plan on spending more time in the chapel during Lent?

During Lent, the three pillars of fasting, prayer and almsgiving are especially focused on to emulate Jesus’ 40 days in the desert and time on Earth. By participating in each pillar, Catholics seek to better themselves and their communities for Easter and the second coming of Jesus Christ. “(Lent) is a time to focus on your relationship with God, and it’s a beautiful reminder that we are Easter people in that we are called to look to Christ’s death and resurrection for us,” Hepp said. Whether it’s praying more frequently, doing an act of service for the community or fasting in a meaningful way, Hepp hopes students can strengthen their bond with God during Lent. Parr plans on giving alms by, as he said, “Spreading some joy to people by making them cards at least once a week; I feel like words of affirmation really lift people up.”

By the end of the Lenten season, Hepp said, “I hope everybody can find one way that they can personally grow as a disciple and grow in their relationship with Christ.”