Students mark Lent at U

Lent is a 40-day Christian celebration that began Wednesday and will last until Good Friday.

by Molly Moker

Some University students began Lenten season not at church Wednesday, but at Coffman Union.

It was the first day of Lent – a 40-day Christian celebration that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Good Friday.

Students said they use Lent to reflect on their faith by attending church, fasting or giving up certain habits.

The Catholic College Student Group hosted three open Masses yesterday in Coffman Union. The on-campus location gave busy students a chance to take part in the traditions of the first day of Lent, said the Rev. Don Andrie, who led the services.

A six-person worship band led the congregation in song and Andrie, of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, preached about the importance of finding self-satisfaction in your faith.

“We should really be looking at our faith,” Andrie said. “And seeing how we can better live our faith in our daily lives.”

He said 100 people attended the first service and 200 went to the second. Andrie said he expected more than 200 people for the last service.

First-year student Andres Abin attended the noon worship.

Abin said he attends church throughout the year, but Lent is an especially meaningful time for him and his faith.

He said he tries to give things up for Lent every year, but he said he has never been successful in sticking to it.

Graduate student Francesco Gaglioppa said Lent is an important tradition in which he takes comfort.

“This is something that really fulfills me,” Gaglioppa said. “These services prepare me to better understand Lent and what Christ went through.”

Gaglioppa is from Italy and said he attended Ash Wednesday services on campus last year, his first year at the University and in the United States.

Students at the noon worship sang, prayed and heard Bible readings. Students were also marked with an ash cross on their foreheads and received communion.

Andrie said Lent is a time for people to reflect on who they are and what they believe.

At his campus church, Andrie said he sees a slight increase in attendance during the Lenten season.

First-year student Melissa Pearson attended an Ash Wednesday service at Grace University Lutheran Church.

Pearson said she worships weekly throughout the school year and attends services twice during the week.