The awesome part about going to a Catholic school, for those of you who are Catholic, is that it makes it much easier to stay active in your religious life. If you are not Catholic, as many people are not that go to this school, I just want to remind you again that there isn’t pressure to ever conform to Catholicism and every religion is equally excepted and respected here!
This time of the year is very meaningful to the Catholic religion, however. It is the time of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Before Ash Wednesday, many people choose to participate in what we call Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It’s really like an excuse to celebrate and eat a bunch of food, since most people will be giving up their favorite foods in addition to fasting during the Lenten season. My family’s own personal tradition was to eat a paczki donut on this day, so it was awesome when one of the events here was ‘Get your fat on for fat Tuesday,’ which had free food and a prize for who ever made the best Mardi Gras mask .
Then comes Ash Wednseday-the beginning of Lent. Since I had not been to a Catholic school since I was in middle school, I was happy to be able to have masses available for me to go to right on campus. Even better, though, was the amount of students packed into the chapel on 4th floor of Kindlon ready to get blessed with ashes. I’m sure, for those of you who’ve gone out in public right after Ash Wednesday mass, you know what it’s like to get odd stares or questions like ‘do you know there’s something on your face?’ But fortunately, since most people knew what Ash Wednesday was all about, those stares and questions are rare.
Once Lent has begun, it is a time of working on really growing deeper in your faith and focusing on God and the sacrifice Jesus made dying in the cross. For this reason, many people choose to give up something, such as a type of food or some type of distraction that they could do without, such as Facebook. Many people choose also to work on something to strengthen their faith and relationship with God. For example, choosing to participate in more community service. These are all personal goals you set for yourself, but the advantage with Benedictine being a Catholic school is that it provides support during this special time. For example, on Ash Wednesday, as well as every Friday until the Lent is over, the Krasa cafeteria serves fish as an option, since Catholics are not suppose to eat meat on these days. There is also a retreat that you can participate in during spring break if you choose to do so that offers a great opportunity to grow closer to God.
These reasons are a reminder to me of how special it is to keep my faith alive through my education at a Catholic University. If religion is an important factor of your decision, I hope what I’ve said is all good news for you and has answered any questions you might have had regarding Lent at Benedictine.