BY ELIZABETH HOYLE
Lent has begun. The wonderful 40 days to grow in Christ and renew the soul for Easter is upon Franciscan University of Steubenville. At the start of this great season, there is often a sense of confusion as people decide what foods or internet websites they want to give up or what new devotions they want to start. It can all seem overwhelming and at times can feel like Franciscan students are in a competition to see who can do the most for Lent. According to the university chaplain this is not the way to go into the season leading up to Easter.
“Don’t look to add on a lot of extra things,” said the university chaplain, the Rev. Dominic Scotto, TOR. “You’ll fall short. Look at what you’re already doing in your spiritual life; if you’re not doing anything, do something. If you are doing something, do what you’re doing more devoutly and try to be attentive in prayer and at Mass. Do a few things, but do them well and consistently.”
There are many things happening on campus to encourage growth in holiness this Lent. There will be Stations of the Cross every Friday at 3 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel, with the exception of the two Fridays during Spring Break. A Penance Service with all the friars in attendance will be at 7:30 p.m. on March 26. Daily Masses will continue as scheduled, as well as weekly praise and worship. Students are also encouraged to read the bulletins. There will be special articles in the bulletin about each week’s Gospel, plus reminders of how to fast, when to abstain and other forms of Lenten protocol. Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday services will be held in Finnegan Fieldhouse on March 28, 29 and 30, respectively.
The Year of Faith makes this Lent even more significant. The Year of Faith was proclaimed so believers could enrich their faith by study, prayer and by living their lives as Christians. Lent calls Christians to a deeper union with the Lord, to reawaken their faith so they can fully participate in the mysteries of Holy Week and Easter.
“We have to realize faith is a gracious gift,” Scotto said. “In light of that, a gift is not something that is permanent, that once we’re given it we don’t have to worry about it. We have to protect and nurture that gift; it can be damaged and even lost. Day by day we can deepen the faith we have through prayer and the Sacraments. Lent is a good time to be reminded of this gift.”
This Lent, students should not be bogged down by other people’s expectations but grow closer to Christ through prayer and celebrating the Sacraments so Easter may be a season of true joy.
“Don’t allow this season to slip by,” said Scotto. “Use this wonderful opportunity the Lord gives us to become a better Christian and to become the person He knows and wants us to be.”