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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Students to fast, reflect for Lent”

Students to fast, reflect for Lent

Some UA students will be adorned with ash marks on their foreheads today, as some Christian groups hold Ash Wednesday services to begin a season of repentance.

For many Christians, today marks the beginning of Lent, a time for prayer, reflection and fasting in preparation for Easter.

On Ash Wednesday, priests put ash marks on the foreheads of Christians as a symbol of human mortality, said the Rev. Miguel Rolland, an associate pastor at the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center at the University of Arizona.

The time of somberness lasts for 40 days, not including Sundays, and ends on Easter Sunday. This year it ends on April 16.

Ian Durnan, a marketing senior, said the practice of wearing ashes on the first day of Lent allows believers to identify one another.

“”You find out all sorts of people who are Catholic,”” Durnan said.

Rolland said students may also “”give up”” something for Lent or make a commitment to do something they would not otherwise do.

“”The point is to change ourselves for the better,”” Rolland said. “”Instead of using the money you would have used to buy a Big Mac, you give it to the poor.””

Durnan said he plans to give up drinking soda, something he does two or three times a day.

“”If you give up something that’s a part of you, (something) that’s probably not good for you, it leads to more spiritual clarity,”” Durnan said.

Abraham Jimenez, a history junior, said he plans to attend an early morning mass so he can wear the ashes all day.

Jimenez said though he doesn’t know what he’ll give up or commit to doing during Lent besides fasting, it’s an important time for him.

“”It’s a time to reconnect with your Christian identity,”” Jimenez said.

Other Christian groups, including members of the United Methodist Church, also celebrate the start of Lent by practicing the custom of using ashes.

“”In the simplest terms, it’s about getting back to God,”” said Rev. Deedee Azhikakath, a minister for the United Methodist Campus Ministry.

She said the ashes also symbolize mourning similar to wearing black clothing because Lent is a time of penitence before Easter.

“”It’s a serious time, but a hopeful time,”” said Rolland. “”It’s a turning of a new leaf.””

The Catholic Newman Center, 1615 E. Second St., plans to hold masses throughout the day and a moonlit mass on the UA Mall at 9 p.m. The Campus Christian Center, 715 N. Park Ave., plans to hold a service for multiple Christian denominations at 6 p.m.

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