A Reflection on the Ash Wednesday Prayer Service

By Sean Stebbins ’19

On Wednesday, March 6, Bellarmine students and faculty celebrated one of the most anticipated events of the Catholic liturgical calendar with a special prayer service: Ash Wednesday. The holiday marks the beginning of Lent, which encompasses the six-week period preceding Easter Sunday. It is typically observed with prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. Before lunch, Bellarmine students made their way into the gym for the annual Ash Wednesday prayer service, helmed this year by Father Wade.

The service was organized by Bellarmine’s Campus Ministry staff, who also incorporated the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl program into the Mass (All Bellarmine teachers have a small collection bin in their classrooms for any spare change students wish to donate to the program). But perhaps the most resonant part of this year’s service was Father Wade’s homily. He began by recounting some of his own experiences as a young student in the 40s and 50s: “My friends and I used to go to the local movie theater every Saturday for the double feature, but during Lent we stopped”, later humorously adding that “you better believe we were back in the theater once Lent ended for the double feature that Saturday.”

Father Wade also highlighted the importance of Lent today. “Maybe instead of spending time using all the technology we have access to, spend some extra time with your parents or your siblings these next six weeks. But more importantly, instead of ‘giving something up’, which is what my friends and I felt we had to do back when we were kids, I encourage you all to do something extra. In other words, don’t just cut something out, add something in that you normally wouldn’t do, too,” he said.

After the homily was concluded students and teachers received the ceremonial ashes on their foreheads commemorating the special holiday.

In the spirit of Father Wade’s call to action, Bellarmine students shared their goals for Lent. Evan Tsukahara ’19, for instance, said: “I’d like to cut out Netflix for Lent… it’ll be a good way for me to spend more time with my family and use technology less often like Father Wade was saying.”