Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Lent Q&A: Everything you were embarrassed to ask about Lent
Q: Getting fat on Fat Tuesday?
A: Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is also known as Mardi Gras Day or Shrove Day. Mardi Gras, which is French for "Fat Tuesday," is a day when people eat all they want of everything and anything they want as the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a long fasting period.
Q: What is Ash Wednesday?
A: Ash Wednesday celebrates the first day of Lent, and it always falls 46 days before Easter Sunday. On this day, observers attend worship services, where a priest or minister combines ashes with water, dips his or her thumb into the mixture, and uses it to make the sign of the cross on parishioner’s foreheads.
Q: What is Lent?
A: It’s the 40-day fasting period leading up to Easter, modeled after Christ's 40-day fast in the desert, and ends on Good Friday. During this fasting period people give up certain foods, habits, or indulgences. This is considered a season of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
Q: Why are we marked with ashes?
A: Ashes, applied in the shape of a cross, are a symbol of mortality and repentance, and represent the idea that "people came from ash, and to ash they will return." Most people wear them throughout the day as a public expression of their faith and penance.
Q: Where do the ashes come from?
A: The ashes are from the burning the palms used for the previous year’s Palm Sunday, which occurs on the Sunday before Easter. Palm Sunday marks Jesus' return to Jerusalem, when people waved palm branches to celebrate his arrival.
Q: Meatless Fridays?
A: Since Jesus sacrificed his body for us on Good Friday, we refrain from eating meat in his honor on the Fridays during lent.
Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the Fridays in between are considered “Days of Abstinence.” You will notice that over the next few weeks beginning from tomorrow March 1, until April 14, the Dining Hall and the Rathskeller will not be serving meat or any meat products on Fridays. This is part of our Catholic Tradition.
On these days, by sacrificing something we really enjoy, we reflect on God’s goodness to us in the abundance of not only food but of the many blessings in our lives. By not eating meat, and whatever else you may choose to give up, we also reflect on the many people in our own community and throughout the world who go to bed hungry each day. It is for these people that we should pray and offer whatever support we can. We invite our entire religiously diverse community to participate in this meaningful and personally fulfilling Lenten Discipline.
For a list of events and activities on campus during Lent, click here.