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Beginning the Lenten Season: Ash Wednesday at MU

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People attending the all-campus Ash Wednesday Mass.

On February 14th, 2024, the office ministry of Marian University held an all-campus mass for Ash Wednesday. Classes and offices were all closed during this time. This mass was held in Bishop Chartrand Memorial Chapel, located in Marian Hall. 

MU observes all Catholic Traditions, including the Ash Wednesday. The mass had two priests officiate; Fr. Barry Fischer and Fr. Douglas Hunter. 

“Ash Wednesday is a celebration to mark the beginning of lent in Christianity and Catholicism,” said Adam Setmeyer the Vice President for Mission and Ministry,

Lent is the season of preparation leading up to Easter, lasting it is roughly 40 days. During the period, Catholics prepare themselves for Easter, the annual celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection and life.

“it does not matter if you are not catholic, all are welcome to celebrate this mass,” said Setmeyer during the mass. 

Setmeyer said that Marian is passionate about their catholic Franciscan traditions. They want to educate and welcome a diverse student body and want to build a family of faith on campus. The mass itself comes directly from their Catholic tradition. At Marian, mass is celebrated according to the Roman Catholic tradition.

During Catholic mass, those who participate in receiving the ash are given a mark of a cross across their foreheads. The minster then says, “remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”

As the Lenten season begins, Catholics are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and any Friday during lent. There are posters letting students know they will not serve meat on these days in The Dining Commons and Starbucks. Marian will not stop any students from ordering meat if they do choose to participate in abstinence from meat. 

Catholicism includes the spiritual practice of fasting. Although there are not many times that Catholics fast, the seasons and celebrations that do incorporate fasting is to strengthen their faith. They give up something they enjoy and devote that time to God, instead.

After mass, there were books being distributed for free to students as a resource to help them learn and grow during this Lenten season. The books are called, “Word Among us Devotionals (College Edition).” The books have readings and explanations for the mass. 

“For the first time ever, we had two masses for Ash Wednesday this year, because in the past years it was so overflowing,” said Setmeyer. 

There were around 500-600 participants at mass in this year’s Ash Wednesday Mass Celebrations.

Setmeyer’s message to all Marian students: “Myself and the ministry are praying for you during this season of lent and preparation for easter and that goes for all the students on campus. Explore what God might be calling you to do this season.”

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Blessing Malunga, Staff Reporter
major in communication

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    SusanMar 29, 2024 at 4:22 pm

    Well done staff reporter. Very informative. God bless you

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