Celebrating the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday

Feb 11, 2021

Newman University will celebrate Ash Wednesday with a Mass held on Feb. 17 at 12:05 p.m. in St. John’s Chapel.

The public is welcome to join in celebrating the first day of Lenten season.

This year’s service will look similar to years past with the exception of the distribution of ashes.

The Vatican has asked that priests do not make direct contact with parishioners by marking their forehead with ashes but instead sprinkle them with ashes without speaking. Priests typically say, “From dust you came and from dust you will return,” as they spread ashes.

Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent, a 46-day long season — 40 days not counting Sundays — of prayer, fasting, repentance and a celebration that signifies the 40 days Jesus spent fasting during his time of temptation in the wilderness.

It is tradition to give something up for lent, which lasts until Easter Sunday. This is viewed as a small sacrifice to test self-discipline and mirror Jesus Christ’s sacrifice in the desert, where he prayed and fasted for the same amount of time.

We asked the Newman community what they were planning to give up for lent.

Associate Director of Admissions Georgia Drewes said she plans to give up the snooze button. What seems like a small sacrifice is something she thinks will make a huge difference in her life.

“It may not seem like a lot, but I have several alarms on my phone for a plethora of instances throughout the day, so if I can commit to doing them as the alarm sounds rather than hitting snooze and not getting to them on time or forgetting about them entirely, I’ll be much more satisfied with myself at the end of the day,” she said.

She is sure it won’t be an easy task but one that will help her to be more respectful to those who rely on her to be on time and present.

Director of Alumni and Campus Events Laura Hartley said, “I know this sounds silly but I am giving up the game Gardenscape on my phone. I started playing this summer and I have spent way too many hours (and dollars) playing it.

“I also like to do something every Lent to grow in my relationship with God so my plan is to start my day with a prayer. So often I wake up and immediately grab my phone and start scrolling; I know that is not spiritually healthy for me and is a habit I would like to break.”

Another Newman community member thinks of Lenten practices in three categories; prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

In the prayer category she said, “Beyond scripture, I typically try to incorporate a spiritual read on the life of Jesus to guide my prayer during Lent. This year, I’m going to read Romano Guardini’s ‘The Lord.’”

Fasting doesn’t always pertain to food and this individual will be fasting from screens this year; only watching movies and TV shows when doing so with a group. She also plans to spend time serving local organizations in Wichita throughout the Lenten season.

Student Karen Do said she looks at Lent as a time to better herself, whether that be by giving things up or doing something extra.

“I am planning on giving up swearing and fast food as these are two things that I struggle with especially as a young college student,” she said. “I am also planning on adding more time to read the Bible every day during Lent. I have always found reading to be rewarding so being able to do this will help me prepare for Easter.”

All are welcome to join the Newman community for daily Mass at 12:05 and Sunday Mass at 7 p.m. in St. John’s Chapel.