Marywood community enters Lenten season with Ash Wednesday


Photo credit/ Thomas Kerrigan

The Marian Chapel Alter

The Christian season of Lent, a period of 40 days dedicated to prayer, fasting and almsgiving begins this Wednesday for Roman Catholics and those of many other Western Christian traditions.. For them, the season begins with Ash Wednesday, a day where Christians attend worship services and receive a marking of a cross with ashes on their forehead.

According to Catholic Straight Answers, the ashes symbolize one’s mortality and penance, and reference traditions of the early church where people who desired forgiveness from God would cover themselves in ashes.

For Christians, Lent is a time of reflection and remembrance and is the precursor to the Easter season. The goal of the season is to strengthen one’s spiritual life as Christians prepare to remember the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, described this liturgical season in his 2022 Lenten Message as “a favorable time for personal and community renewal, as it leads us to the paschal mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

This year, Campus Ministry will be holding multiple Liturgy of the Word services with the distribution of ashes, as follows:

Fireplace Lounge of the Nazareth Student Center at 8:30 a.m.
Marian Chapel in the Swartz Center for Spiritual Life at 12 p.m.
Fireplace Lounge in the Nazareth Student Center at 4:45 p.m.

If students, faculty or staff cannot attend these services, they can visit the Cathedral of Saint Peter in downtown Scranton. According to the Diocese of Scranton website, Mass will be held at 12:10 p.m.

Campus Ministry will also be holding events throughout the Lenten season. Ongoing weekly events include a rosary prayer group Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. with Praise and Worship following at 9:00 p.m. Stations of the Cross every Friday at 12:00 p.m and Sunday Night Mass at 7:30 p.m., all in the Marian Chapel located in the Swartz Center for Spiritual Life.

A majority of these events are led by students. Zachary Houston is one of the students who will be leading Stations of the Cross every Friday at 12:00 p.m.

“Ash Wednesday and Lent as a whole are times for Catholics to reflect on the Passion and death of Jesus and it provides time for us to pray, fast and give alms in a way that helps us and those around us get closer to knowing Christ,” said Houston. “There are many opportunities on campus to commemorate this sacred period of the liturgical year, and I highly recommend all to benefit from them.”

Also during Lent, Campus Ministry is hosting its annual Search Retreat on Mar. 24-26. For the first year since the pandemic, this retreat will be off campus at Holy Transfiguration Retreat Center in Dalton Pa.

For the most up to date information on Lenten activities follow Campus Ministry’s Instagram page

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