May 29, 2024

Catholic Fellowship Hosts Ash Wednesday Service

Rev. Daniel Hennessey leads Ash Wednesday mass. Photo by Nate McReynolds.

By Raymond Johnson ’21 & Ashley Miller ’18

Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of the season of Lent for many Christians.

For 2018, the Catholic Student Fellowship hosted a mass on Valentine’s Day to celebrate and begin the season of Lent. Father Daniel Hennessy, Archdiocese of Boston, was invited as a guest to preside over the service. The full service brought in a sizable crowd of Catholic and non-Catholics participants alike.

Father Hennessy expressed his gratitude towards the college for “welcoming [him] to come for a few different services” and is looking forward to continuing to work alongside the Catholic Student fellowship.

During the homily of the mass (after the Gospel reading), which is like what Protestants would call a “sermon,” the priest explained the Catholic belief on communion and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Following that, he went on to explain what Lent was and what it meant to Christians. Students who were not Catholic were invited to go up to the priest and receive a blessing instead of communion.

At the end of the mass, students were invited forward to have ashes brushed in the sign of the cross on their foreheads. The ashes can also symbolize grief, and separation from God.

Co-author, Ashley Miller of the Catholic Student Fellowship, offered a few words on what Ash Wednesday means by saying, “Ash Wednesday is very important […] because it is the holy day in the liturgical calendar that begins the season of Lent.”

She continued, “Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting, in which Christians give up something during the season of Lent in order to remember that we are broken people who need God in our lives. The idea is that by giving up something that you don’t need, but may enjoy.”

“The point is that you are sacrificing something you love in order to show God that you love Him more.” She explained.

The Ash Wednesday mass and observance of Lent is one of the most important seasons of the year, and it is always a beautiful thing to see both Catholics and Protestants come together to share faith and wait for the coming of Christ.

Overall Ash Wednesday mass proved to be a success in bringing forth many students in unity of following Christ.

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