Students join Ash Wednesday service

By Michael McFall, Staff Writer

At least 85 students and community members flocked into the Union Ballroom for the Ash Wednesday service, hosted primarily by the St. Catherine of Sienna Newman Center and the Interfaith Council. The service is the annual ringing in of the Lenten season, in which Catholics, Protestants and Greek Orthodox Christians give up something in their lives until Easter.

The tradition is an exercise in self-restraint, a valued practice during hard economic times, students said. Although some students, such as Austin Trinh, a senior in human development, are giving up treats such as soda for the next 40 days of Lent, others are spending less.

“Just from other students I’ve talked to, a lot of them decided they aren’t going out a bunch,” said Casey Huber, a junior in film studies. “They’re trying to save.”

Katie Hobbs, a junior in exercise and sport science, said she’s going to strictly limit her budget to food and toilet paper8212;the essentials. Lent is a time for sacrificing an indulgence to get closer to God, and lately she’s been spending more than she should, Hobbs said.

Whether or not Wednesday’s ashes are a reminder for students to practice restraint with their wallets or a valued reminder to remain humble, they walked away with an appreciation for the ceremony. Students such as freshmen Julien Ta, studying biology, and Henry Lopez, studying physical therapy, said they loved the chance to participate in their faith even while at college.

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Nick Andrew

Students wait for ashes in the Union Ballroom during an Ash Wednesday service hosted by the St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center and the Interfaith Council, marking the beginning of the Lenten season.