Today is Ash Wednesday, which signifies the start of the Lenten season in the Christian community.
“Sometimes I think it can be hard to almost remember to balance school with other things —
you do have other priorities,” second-semester special education major Marisa Melluzzo said. “Through it all, I like praying every night to do well on exams, the least I can do is get ashes (on Ash Wednesday). Faith is important.”
Lent is the season of preparation prior to the celebration of the Easter holiday, St. Thomas Aquinas & St. Mary Church Pastor Father John Antonelle said.
“The season lasts 40 days, following the example of Jesus when he went into the desert,” Father John said.
Ash Wednesday marks the start of this spiritual journey.
“Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence,” Father John said. “We have just one main meal for the day, or you can break it into two smaller meals.”
His Holiness Pope Francis released a message this year to Catholics, preparing them for the Lenten journey.
“Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life,” the Pope wrote.
More locally, Bishop Michael R. Cote of the Diocese of Norwich, which both St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Mary belong to, also released a statement.
“The glory of Easter awaits each of us who make the Lenten journey to the Father by walking the way of His Son, Jesus,” the Most Reverend Bishop Cote wrote. “Lent is our time to change and become more like Christ.”
Father John also said he would like to remind students to fulfill their Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Easter Sunday. This sacrament gives people a chance to confess their sins to the Lord through a priest, who absolves them from their wrongdoings.
“We always have (reconciliation),” Father John said. “I’m always available before or after (daily mass) or by appointment.”
St. Thomas Aquinas is the on-campus Catholic church for students. The parish is connected with St. Mary Church in Coventry.
Today does not mandate mass attendance; thus, it is not a Holy Day of Obligation. Extra services are being held in observance, Father John said.
St. Thomas Aquinas will host a 12:20 p.m. mass with ashes; at 4:00 p.m., there will be a service for just ashes without the accompanying mass. St. Mary Church will have 7:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. ash services without mass.
Luke Hajdasz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.