An Ash Wednesday reflection from Rev. John Thiede, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry

Evening Masses at 4:30 p.m, 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

A student receives their ashes during Mass Wednesday morning.

Remember we are dust and to dust we shall return…

This year is odd in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 14, which secular culture names St. Valentine’s Day. We hope that our campus community might respect the Roman Catholic and mainstream Protestant religious calendar this year, since if there really was a St. Valentine, we think he would probably have been going to Mass, receiving ashes, etc. Instead, we are suggesting revelry take place on a day outside of today and Lenten Fridays.

As we enter into the spirit of Lent on Ash Wednesday, we continue to reflect on our Mission Week celebration to Act with Faith. We have two main spiritual movements at play during this liturgical season: abnegation and almsgiving. With abnegation, we fast, pray and realize we are but specks in the universe and that God is our focus.

But often we forget the second dynamic of Lent, almsgiving. While Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, he also spent most of his life loving and serving others. Sometimes we focus so much on what we are giving up that we forget that almsgiving and loving others as Jesus loved us is also part of our Lenten journey. We might ask that in light of this year’s mission theme, how we love and serve, “How do we act with faith this Lenten season?”

While we give up meat on Fridays, might we also find a way to serve a meal in a soup kitchen, greet an unhoused person, smile or give a kind word to one of our classmates, our colleagues or a friend who may be going through a difficult time?

We don’t boast like the Pharisees in our reading today about what we are giving up. Instead, we might find a way to love and serve others and Act with Faith this Lenten season.

Campus Ministry is offering a variety of services on Ash Wednesday. A full schedule is available on Marquette Today.