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Campus prepares for Lent

John Everett | Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent, a season of reflection, repentance and self-denial for Christians.

The season lasts until Easter Sunday, and the Notre Dame campus will be celebrating the season in a variety of ways.

Traditionally, Catholics above the age of 14 are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on any Friday during Lent. In accordance with this tradition the dining halls will not serve meat on these dates, offering instead a wider variety of meatless options to cater to the students observing the Catholic doctrine.

In past years this has caused grumbling from both Catholic and non-Catholic students alike. Some argue the lack of meat makes the avoidance of it less of a sacrifice, as the intended thought and observance are taken out of the equation.

Others state it is unfair for the University to make a choice for its students in the area of religious traditions, as not everyone on campus is an observing Catholic.

Sophomore John Coyle supports the University’s stance.

“I’m glad they have it this way, it doesn’t put any extra temptation in front of us. If they had meat they wouldn’t be able to offer a variety of non-meat options to the many students who are going to abstain,” Coyle said.

Sophomore Vincent Au, a non-Catholic, had mixed feelings.

“I don’t know how I feel about it, when you go to Notre Dame you get used to it. It is only once a week,” Au said.

It should be noted Notre Dame is not alone among Catholic universities in the practice of meatless meal options during Lent.

However, some institutions, such as Boston College, do not remove meat entrees from its dining halls.

With the spirituality of the season in mind, the University is planning many events designed to bring students closer to God during Lent.

Tonight, the Center for Social Concerns is hosting a special Ash Wednesday penitential mass at 7 p.m. at the Log Chapel.

Father Tim McDermott will preside over the service, and a Sudanese woman who survived the tsunami will be there to deliver a homily about her experiences.

The CSC would also like to remind students they can sign up for the Wednesday Lunch Fast for the duration of Lent if they are not already part of the program.

The project is run in conjunction with the World Hunger Corporation, with proceeds going to aid tsunami victims.

Campus Ministry is offering vespers every Sunday evening at 7:15 p.m. featuring one of the Basilica choirs.

There will also be a rosary said every day at the Grotto at 6:45 p.m. and Stations of the Cross will be held on Friday evenings at 7:15.

An e-mail sent out by assistant director of Campus Ministry Priscilla Wong includes advice to students on how they can deepen their faith this Lenten season – a time intended for examination and renewal of personal religious beliefs before the Easter celebration.

It advises students to pick up good habits as well as sacrifice bad ones, to try and be aware of the needs of others, to perform acts of mercy and to read spiritual works.