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Students’ sacrifices mark Lent

Forty days, 960 hours or 57,600 minutes. A long time to go without cigarettes during lunch break, chocolate for dessert or sex.

Yet some University students are sacrificing their favorite vices to acknowledge the 40 days of Lent, which began Feb. 16.

Angelika Cegielski gave up soda to honor the religious period. The sophomore, who usually sips Mountain Dew while delivering files and answering phones at a Minneapolis law firm, said giving up soda was the lesser of several evils.

“It’s the thing I know I can give up,” she said. “Coffee and chocolate are things that I’m addicted to and I need to have.”

University senior Amy, who asked that her last name not be used, gave up sex for Lent. With her boyfriend studying in Ireland for the semester, Amy said celibacy was a natural choice for the holiday.

“It’s the best thing to ask during a party: ‘I’m giving up sex for Lent, how about you?'”

However cavalier they may appear to be about their Lenten sacrifices, Cegielski, Amy and other Christian University students said they haven’t forgotten the history of the period they are honoring.

Modeled after Jesus Christ’s
40-day fast while the devil tempted him, the Lenten sacrifice is meant to teach abstinence from sin, according to the Catholic Online Web site.

“For Christians, it’s always been 40 days of a journey, because that’s what Jesus was doing,” said sophomore Catie Almirall. “The way I see it, we’re trying to follow his footsteps by trying to explore who we are.”

Their sacrifices have come with some forms of hardship, such as peer pressure or withdrawal symptoms.

“I gave up chocolate last year, and it was horrible,” Amy said. “People would eat it in front of me, buy it for me and tease me about it. They didn’t understand what I was trying to do.”

Amber Christie, senior and intern at the St. Lawrence Catholic Church, gave up watching television for Lent, missing everything except for ice skating in the Winter Olympics and new Seventh Heaven episodes.

Last year Christie gave up soda, a move she said had unfortunate consequences.

“It was hard,” she said. “I was living in the dorms, so pop was like every meal. The first week I had the worst caffeine headache.”

Instead of giving up something for Lent, other University students use the time to add things to their lives.

“In my Episcopal church, Lent is seen more as a time to start doing something good as a sign of personal growth,” Almirall said.

In past years, she has written letters every day or taken more time to pray. This year, while questioning her religious beliefs, she is taking a meditation course to explore her faith.


Amy Hackbarth welcomes comments at [email protected]

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