Merrimack marks the start of Lenten season with Ash Wednesday services around campus

Students, crowded Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel in Merrimack's Austin Hall with faculty, staff and area residents for noon Mass to mark the start of the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday Feb. 18.

Easter is April 5.

Ashes were also scheduled for distribution at a 4:30 p.m. Mass in the chapel and a Mass in Taylor Chapel of St. Augustine on the third floor of the Sakowich Campus Center at 9 p.m.

Prayer services with distribution of ashes were scheduled in Deegan Hall’s first floor seminar room at 7 p.m.; Monican Centre lobby at 8 p.m.; and O’Brien Hall lobby at 10 p.m.

“Lent is an extended season of preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter,” said the Rev. Ray Dlugos, O.S.A. Dlugos and first-year student Morgan Sleeman distributed ashes during the noon Mass. The ashes are from burnt palms.

Ashes remind the faithful that by themselves there’s not much they can do but when they are empowered by God people are spectacular, he said.

Christians are called to pray, fast and care for the poor more intently during the Easter season, Dlugos said.

“The purpose of doing those things is to put ourselves in a place we can experience God’s healing love,” he said. “The point of the death and resurrection is that it heals us of everything that has separated us from our true selves, the love of God, and each other.”

Catholics often give up something during the Lenten season but Dlugos warned worshipers at Mass not to make it too hard.

“Rule number 1 for Lent: If your Lenten sacrifice is going to make any of the rest of us miserable, find something else,” Dlugos said.

Rather than giving up something like candy, Dlugos recommended worshipers create for themselves some time to be quiet for an hour every day.

“Maybe put down the cell phone or turn off the TV,” he said.

In the silence, prayer and rituals, let God assuage the faithful’s pain and suffering, Dlugos said.


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