On Feb. 10, many students could be seen around campus with the traditional ash crosses on their foreheads. The ash crosses marked Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.
“[Wednesday is] the beginning of a time when we return to the Lord, to remind us that we are ashes and to ashes we shall return. Ash Wednesday primarily serves as a time for us to repent and believe in the Gospel, to change our lives to grow closer to God,” said Fr. Stephan.
The ashes are given during Catholic Mass to serve as a reminder of human morality, an outward sign of mourning, and repentance to God.
The rise in student participation could also be accredited to the popularity of Pope Francis who has fired up Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
“I want an evangelist Catholic Church,” said Pope Francis.
The University joined together with the Benedictine Monks and the Benedictine Sisters for Ash Wednesday, allowing students to come together and pray as one in the Benedictine tradition. The day helped strengthen the relationship between the Benedictine Monks and the student community.
“This Ash Wednesday has been an experience like no other, I feel that I now have a deeper understanding of how Jesus has changed my life for the better. Ash Wednesday used to be a topic I didn’t really understand, however, this year my understanding has changed and I now see that in order to understand what he endured for us we must give up something we love because it is difficult, but we do this with the understanding that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Through him alone we can overcome our own personal struggles,” said Senior Danny Francois.