Seton Hall University, along with other Catholic institutions have begun the observation of Lent, a 40 day period of penance, prayer, fasting and almsgiving which began on Feb. 10, in preparation for Easter.
While not all students and faculty are Catholic, there is a campus-wide understanding of Lent and it translates into a variety of meaning for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
“Catholics are asked to abstain from meat and do some fasting on certain days,” said Brother Philip, a campus minister. “We are also encouraged to choose our own form of practices.”
Brother Philip said that the university’s mission and tradition is to strive to meet the spiritual needs of students regardless of their faith.
He added that his personal mission for Lent is to pray for the community.
“Lent used to be about giving things up, but now it’s about helping others and being kind,” said Amanda Adamo, a junior broadcasting and visual media major. “My individual mission is to be nice to others for the Lent season.”
Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent, symbolizes repentance and human mortality.
Crystal Ayala, a senior English major, does not identify as Catholic.
“I do not have a religious mission, but I am always looking to better myself and be more successful,” she said. “Each semester of college comes with its challenges and I look to overcome them. I have a few friends who observe Lent.”
Brother Francis Nekrosius of the Child Jesus, a campus minister, describes Lent as a “time to slow down internally from feeling like you’re sliding on the surface of life in order to dive into your interior depths where some unpleasant surprises might be encountered.” He said that his personal mission this Lent is to experience mercy and to help people experience it. For Sr. Francesca Therese of campus ministry, “Lent is a particular time to reflect on what really matters.”
“Lent means repenting for your wrongdoings to ultimately make you a better person through a difficult but rewarding six-week process,” said Matthew Lamb, a sophomore broadcasting and visual media major.
Nyrema Baptiste, a junior political science major, said her family is traditional for lent.
“Lent gives me the chance to reevaluate what it really means to give up something to give praise to God,” she said.
Dominique Mcindoe can be reached at dominique.mcindoe@ student.shu.edu.