Today, Feb. 17, marks the Christian holiday Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent. The Newman Catholic Center, 512 Normal Road, will be hosting four masses for Ash Wednesday at 12:05, 4:30, 7 and 9 p.m.
These four services are spaced out and socially distanced with masks being required and the Newman Catholic Center being sanitized in between services, according to the Newman Catholic Center’s website.
Ash Wednesday is a holiday in which Christians reflect on their short lifespan and what awaits them in the afterlife. During an Ash Wednesday service, Christians will reflect on their lives, confess transgressions and then receive crosses on their forehead made of ashes from a holy person. During this, the holy person will typically say a statement that will align with the theme of mortality like “from dust you came and from dust you will return.”
The ashes are either made out of pieces of paper which have the attendees’ sins written on them or the dried palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday Service.
Following Ash Wednesday is the 40-day period of Lent where many Christians either give up a negative or unnecessary activity such as social media, swearing or smoking. The 40 day period of Lent represents the 40 days where Jesus fasted in the desert before preaching God’s word and performing miracles. Lent ends the day before Good Friday, Holy Thursday, where Jesus and his 12 disciples partook in the Last Supper.
Following Lent will be Good Friday, remembering the crucifixion of Jesus, and Easter Sunday, where Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.