Last Wednesday, an increased number of Facebook profiles were deactivated, and a number of self-proclaimed “chocaholics” began settling for celery sticks. These are all just the little “first world” sacrifices we make for the age-old Christian ritual of Lent. Many Quinnipiac students take part in this tradition. During Lent, the real question is not what students will lose, but what they will gain by losing.
According to Father Hugh Vincent Dyer, Quinnipiac’s Catholic chaplain, 67 percent of the campus population is Christian. With a population this large, Lent is still a topic of discussion in residence halls and lunch tables.
Susan Fowler, Quinnipiac’s Protestant minister, says Lent is a time to reconcile one’s relationship with God.
“Traditionally associated with penitence, fasting, almsgiving and prayer, Lent is a time of preparation for Christians to celebrate Jesus’s death and resurrection,” Fowler said. “We reflect on the ways we have turned away from God’s love, realizing our need for God’s grace to transform our lives and bring us closer to living in unity with ourselves, our God and our neighbors.”
Springtime is commonly known as the time of renewal in paganism and Christianity, which reflects Lent’s true purpose — cleansing.
“Giving up something for Lent is a way of life that we grow into through the penitential practice of self-denial — doing what God wants us to do for our own good and the good of our neighbors, even if we don’t want to,” Fowler said.
Freshman Katie Shpak said she will participate in Lent this year.
“Actually, instead of giving up something, I am going to start praying every night,” Shpak said. “I was brought up always doing Lent with my family.”
Freshman Courtney Meade said she will try to improve herself during this Lent season.
“I am going to work harder in school to get my GPA up,” Meade said. “I was raised Catholic, I go to church every Sunday basically. Every Lent I tried to give up something or do something to improve myself.”
Despite Quinnipiac’s large Christian population, some students will not be partaking in Lent this year.
“I’m not [partaking in Lent],” sophomore Katherine Foley said. “While I’ve been at school I haven’t been going to church or partaking in other religious activities, so if I do Lent, I will just feel like a fair-weather fan, not a wholehearted practitioner. At home, I am very religious, but here, I am not as active in my religion.”
Foley, who was raised Catholic, feels participating in Lent at school does not have the same affect as it does at home.
“When I am home, religion is a family thing. Since I’m alone at school, I have lost the motivation to go because my parents aren’t encouraging me,” Foley said.
Sophomore Brett Kaselouskas says he partakes in Lent in a purely secular way.
“I already cheated,” Kaselouskas said. “I was supposed to give up all sweets, Uncrustables and Acrop. I am participating in Lent, not because I am religious, but as an excuse to eat healthier, but then I found a red velvet cake in the fridge and all of that went down the drain.”