Lent offers season of hope

Nicole Battista, Reporter

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MU Campus Ministers describe Lent as a season for renewal and reconciliation of one’s relationship with God through three disciplines: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.

Chaplain Father Don Williams provides a metaphor to help people fully understand the meaning of Lent.

“In the physical world if we see a house burning it will go from fire to ash. In the spiritual world, we go from ashes to fire. This journey of faith invites us to go from the spiritual death of selfishness and sin to new life, renewed in spirit as individuals and as a community of faith with the fire of God’s love and a passionate desire to live our lives in a more intentional way,” he said.

A popular Lenten topic is personal sacrifice, whether it is cutting donuts, red meat, video games, or caffeine. “I am one of 11 children. On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, we’d have to declare what we were giving up as a good. It was like a 40 day endurance test,” said Williams. He will spend his time reconnecting with those he has lost touch with who really could use his help.

According to Director of Campus Ministry Chris Somers the question should be “what are you doing for Lent?” not “what are you giving up?”

“Fasting should be intentional, meaningful for the individual,” she said. Somers will spend more time focusing on quiet prayer for Lent, to have a better connection with God.

While someone could give up something they enjoy, Campus Ministry officials say the focus should be on self-improvement and the strengthening of relationships with others, with themselves, and with God.

One annual campus Lenten program is Operation Rice Bowl. It is organized by Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.

Operation Rice Bowl raises funds to help farmers improve harvests and preserve the land, support and promote quality education for all people, bring clean water to families and communities, provide loans that help small businesses, and train health workers to care for families with young children. Seventy-five percent of the contributions support CRS’ humanitarian efforts.

A special Palm Sunday liturgy will be offered on April 1 at 7:00 p.m. and a celebration of the Easter Sacraments will be on April 16 at 7:00pm.

The RCIA/Rite of Election will be on February 26 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton. There will be a communal celebration March 21 at 4:30 in the chapel. The annual Passover Seder meal will occur on April 1 at 4:00 p.m. in Insalaco Hall.

Theology on Tap is offered on Tuesdays, and students can sign up at campus ministry. Sacred Silence on Feb 29 will be at 8:30 in the Chapel, and Spirituality on Tap will be on March 12 at 4:30 in campus ministry.