The university held its Ash Wednesday ceremonies on Feb. 18 to commemorate the start of the Catholic and Protestant season of Lent, which lasts for 40 days.
Father Jordan Lenaghan, a Catholic priest who works at the Quinnipiac Catholic Chaplaincy, said the Lent season is about keeping your character in check and actually doing what you say you believe in.
“Lent is when you choose congruence between what you believe and how you act,” Lenaghan said.
Lenaghan said the most important part of Lent, however, is to challenge those participating to be more grateful for what they have and to appreciate the luxury of their place in life.
“We give things up in Lent because not because they are simple for themselves or because God will say ‘Oh good job for doing that,’” he said. “We give things up because it gives something in our lives. It challenges something on us.”
Freshman Zelia Pantani agreed, saying Lent helps people appreciate what they have more, and that even something like a cookie may be considered a luxury in some places.
Lenaghan said that more than 650 students attended the Ash Wednesday sermons on campus, an increase of his estimation of more than 600 students from last year.
Pantani said the Ash Wednesday mass was the first she went to on campus.
She said that she would attend more masses, but the times conflict with her sorority chapter meetings and she does not want to walk in late.
When asked what she gave up, Pantani said she would give up all desserts and Twitter.
Lenaghan would not say what he was giving up for Lent, as he believes that it’s traditionally kept to one’s self. He does note that despite him saying that he believes keeping the commitment is easy, he admits that sometimes temptation is placed in front of him.
“Occasionally the Burger King ads look good, but there’s not really anything hard about it,” Lenaghan said.
Not everyone celebrates though, such as freshman Kenyu Hoshina, who is not religious. Despite not believing in God, he does not judge others for participating.
Pantani says she would recommend Lent to people who do not believe in God, saying that it would lead to people being more grateful for what they have.
Hoshina said he may do it if a friend asked him to do it, since he has participated in other religious traditions out of curiosity.
“I’ve done fasting because like one of my friends is Muslim so I’ve done that with him too just to see what it’s like,” said Hoshia.
Lent started last Wednesday in the Catholic and certain Protestant churches, but for the Orthodox Christians such as Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox, Lent actually started the Monday after. The Lent season ends on Easter Sunday, which is on April 5.