Students restore faith during Lenten season
See a video from inside St. John Church and Student Center in East Lansing on Ash Wednesday.
Students and religion can be tricky to balance in college. Between studying, sleeping and having a social life, the decision to continue pursuing a relationship with God, or reject the beliefs from home, is a challenge for some.
For physics senior Derik Peterman, Ash Wednesday is a chance to improve that relationship through “spiritual bootcamp,” or Lent.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics around the world. Yesterday was the beginning of Lent, also known as Ash Wednesday, and MSU students had the chance to publicly display the ashes on their foreheads, representing they are Catholic.
“Lent is a time for not only fasting and controlling our human desires, but a time of renewal of our faith,” Peterman said after attending 12:15 p.m. Mass Wednesday at St. John Church and Student Center, 327 M.A.C. Ave., to receive his ashes.
Peterman said his transition to college made it hard to keep up with his faith. But he has learned to change his lifestyle and make time as he got used to being on campus.
Deacon Jim Kasprzak marks a cross on the forehead of hospitality business freshman Matthew Temerowski with ash, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at St. John Church and Student Center, 327 M.A.C Ave. Justin Wan/The State News
Several hundred churchgoers attend one of the five Ash Wednesday masses, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at St. John Church and Student Center, 327 M.A.C Ave. Justin Wan/The State News
“I would definitely say my faith has gotten stronger since freshman year,” Peterman said. “It’s not so much balancing my time as much as just making time because striving to learn more about my faith is something I make time for.”
Rev. Mark Inglot, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and St. John Church and Student Center, 955 Alton St., said students sometimes find it difficult to go to mass because of everything they have going on. Still, he sees an increase of students attending mass starting on Ash Wednesday through the Easter season.
“I think students come to mass more during Lent because they know that Catholic Christians around the world are more intentional about their faith, about examining their conscious and preparing for Easter,” Inglot said. “Because all Catholics know that we are all in this journey together. It helps motivate students.”
Marketing freshman Brett Kast said being at college has made it difficult to maintain his religious life, but he wants to use this Lenten season to explore doing things on his own and work on being more committed to God.
“Not starting off the Easter season this year at home is going to be different,” Kast said. “Because Ash Wednesday is a time for renewal and sacrifice, I am trying to make a change about my religious life right now.”
Kast also said for him, Ash Wednesday is a time to re-evaluate and appreciate life.
“This is a season to get us back to God’s design,” Inglot said. “Ash Wednesday is the day to dare to be Christian, and I want students to be that ambassador for Christ.”