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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    What should Gonzaga students be doing for Lent?

    Seniors+Jamieson+Craig%2C+Jalen+Bogues+and+Nick+Gaston+lead+the+stations+of+the+cross+with+a+Racial+Justice+focus.++Photo+by+John+Broome%2FPhoto+II
    Seniors Jamieson Craig, Jalen Bogues and Nick Gaston lead the stations of the cross with a Racial Justice focus. Photo by John Broome/Photo II

    I don’t think I fully grasped the significance of the Lenten season as a Jewish member of the Gonzaga community until the Ash Wednesday service last week.  I knew the day was symbolic of the beginning of Lent, a season of penance, that people walked around with mysterious ash crosses on their foreheads and that many people challenge themselves to refrain from something in the spirit of purification—I even chose to refrain from eating certain foods during Lent in hope that it would make me a better Jew among Jesuits during my first three years on Eye Street. 

    Student and faculty pack St. Al’s to listen to the stations of the cross. Photo by John Broome/ Photo II

    The remarks made by Ms. Danielle Flood, associate director of campus ministry, Mr. Stephen Turner, VINCO program coordinator, Mr. John Gardner, social studies teacher and Fr. Joseph Lingan, S.J., revealed the challenge of Lent; while it is religious in context, it is a challenge to ALL people to be their best selves for the 40 days preceding Easter (and even after that).

    The sacrifices made during Lent help the Gonzaga student body become the “men for and with others” that our school wants us to be, transcending our religious beliefs.  We all fall prey to the privileges of Gonzaga in one way or another, such as the three cookie servings at the all-you-can-eat Sage lunch, the opportunity to attend classes in a city that many people only get the chance to visit once in a lifetime and the lenient deadline policies of many devoted teachers.  To see the potential roadblocks preventing us from moving forward, we must take a step—or even a leap—backward.

    “Lent is a way of weeding out some of the bad habits and trying to get stronger, better ones,” Ms. Davin said.

    Ms. Madeline Davin and Dr. Colleen Karchunas, assistant directors of campus ministry, Ms. Flood, and Mr. Patrick Sullivan, director of educational technology and religion teacher spoke about their Lenten journeys, offering a blueprint of Lenten sacrifices that students from all facets of Gonzaga can explore to grow during Lent.

    To sum up, the season of Lent is one where we seek to prune what is unhealthy and detrimental to our spiritual life,” Mr. Sullivan stated.  “But we do this to make room for new growth.”

    Mr. Sullivan, a competitive long-distance runner, had some advice for the countless student athletes stressed out by their hectic lives on how to get through the struggle of balancing a sport and school at the same time.  Student athletes go above and beyond to achieve the goals they set for themselves because they have a strong habit of perseverance, which is at the heart of Lent.

    Being committed to simple, but effective practices can go a long way,” Mr. Sullivan stated.  “Write the practice down and commit to it.  Like committing to push-ups and sit-ups in the offseason, if you keep at it, it will yield serious results.” 

    For the person that may not be living up to their academic potential, Mr. Sullivan believes a hearty combination of prayer and advising can work magic for the inner Einsteins in all of us.  He specifically recommends saying a simple, powerful prayer of “Jesus, I Trust In You,” and then embracing the many teacher resources available at Gonzaga.

    “Pray: Jesus, I trust in you, and then take your paper to the writing center, talk about your grades with a class counselor or drop in for NHS tutoring,” Mr. Sullivan stated.  “I think you’ll be surprised with how the two go hand in hand.”

    For the person who feels disconnected from their faith, Ms. Davin, who is using her role on campus to help the Gonzaga student body find their own faith, suggests taking a step back and reevaluating life to find those obstacles to others and God’s friendship.  Whether it is embracing a new routine or giving up a weekly tradition, the sacrifice can mean all the difference in guiding the Lenten journey.

    “Lent can be used as an opportunity to step back from life and think about the obstacles in the way,” Ms. Davin said.  “The Lenten sacrifice isn’t necessarily just about giving up sweets or TV; it’s about finding ways to grow closer to the Lord.”

    For the person struggling to find a balance between their home life and school life, Mr. Sullivan recommends that students journal about their lives.  Writing out every little detail in one’s day allows students to find the positive things that there should be more of and harmful practices that need to be reconsidered, allowing students to harness and manage the weight of life.

    “Perhaps, students who are overwhelmed might adopt a practice of journalling or intentionally planning during Lent,” Mr. Sullivan stated.  

    It might seem counterintuitive to add one more thing but often when you write out everything that is on your mind, you can develop a better approach to managing it all.

    For the students always reliant on the phrase “no,” venture to discover the power of saying “yes” to rewarding little experiences.  Striving to make the most of the little moments in life seems to be what Lent means to me this year.  Talk to a classmate that you haven’t had a real conversation with before, take a friend you’ve lost touch with out for a hearty meal or attend a club meeting of a club you aren’t even in—the possibilities are endless.

    At Gonzaga, students are urged to follow the Church’s claim that Lent is a time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  Students can give up their time by serving at the McKenna Center, Unique Residential or Washington Jesuit Academy.  Also during Lent, there will be daily morning mass in Our Lady’s Chapel, every Friday morning there will be social justice-themed Stations of the Cross in St. Al’s, every Tuesday adoration will be offered in Our Lady’s Chapel and every Wednesday there will be priests available to hear confessions.  Furthermore, Sage will be having meatless Fridays to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ.

    Make the most of the Lenten message and use the season as an intentional reset and find those few things in your life that you’d like to work on, and it will make a larger impact than you may think.  

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    • H

      Harry Geib, SJMar 8, 2023 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you Wyatt for sharing your article with us. It was good to hear your perspective and those of faculty/staff here at Gonzaga!

      Reply
    • C

      Carol CorganMar 8, 2023 at 12:42 pm

      Great work, Wyatt!

      Reply