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Less Means More For God: Students share Lenten practices

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Elaina Gibson
Senior Rocco Marrello enjoys reflecting in his theology class’ chapel time. Marrello remembers on Jesus’ sacrifices to motivate his Lent promises. “It’s a great experience to just all be there together experiencing the same thing at the same time.”Marrello said. | ELAINA GIBSON

Sunlight streams in through the stained glass windows of the chapel an early morning Mass. The bright horizon and songs inspire students to begin their fasting journeys during Lent: a 40-day voyage of reverence, prayer and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday.

For Father Anthony Mersmann, Lent is a special time in which he prepares as a priest, but also as a member of God’s family. He notes
how busy the Lenten season can be, hearing more confessions than usual.

“I think it’s an accurate season to describe Christian life,” Mersmann said. “We are supposed to be growing in strength, resisting temptation, pursuing the cross of Jesus Christ and the eternal life that comes after that.”

The meaning behind Lent is different and unique to students such as senior Rocco Marrello as he reveals what this liturgical time means to his family.

“As a family, we have some general things that we try to improve on during this time,” Marrello said. “Usually it’s a reflection of how we spend our prayer life, sometimes doing a rosary or blessing after dinner. But we also go to Mass weekly and attend Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Holy Thursday and Masses like those.”

Marrello mentions a variety of specific Mass days held annually in preparation for Jesus’ resurrection. These Masses are known as
solemnities in the church, meaning they are of great importance to commemorate for Catholics.

As Lenten tradition goes, practicing Christians are expected to sacrifice a luxury in their life in memory of Jesus – who gave the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. There are multiple variations to how people of faith may follow this practice, and in Marrello’s case, he will be giving up time to spend more time in prayer as his resolution.

“I am adding a daily prayer and going to Mass more frequently, but I haven’t decided if I will give something else up,” Marrello said. “It is important to direct myself toward the glory of heaven and God, and focusing on the external beauty of the vestments and sacraments
in themselves at mass is very good for improving my faith life.”

As followers are brought together under one common roof in the Catholic home during Lent, its significance in the Church serves as a renewal in spirituality for many. Students’ customs remind people of what the tradition is all about while keeping an altar at the center of it all.

“Lent is a representation of God’s sacrifice of Jesus for our sins and how we show that in a similar way through giving up something important to us,” junior Emma Masters said. “It shows that God loves us, as we are important. He gave up his body for us, so it is 40 days that remind us to give Him our love back.”

According to Mersmann, there is a huge importance in being an active member of the Church. He says his main goal as a priest during Lent is to help those who have a difficult time with temperance, but this can get better with practice.

“It is important to practice saying no, sometimes even on a human level,” Mersmann said. “If we say yes to every impulse and movement, then we have no self control or boundaries. When I say no, I can have this ownership of myself. I can actually be in control.”

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MC Dunn, Staff Writer
Elaina Gibson, Web Editor in Chief

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