St. Thomas met as a campus community with the traditional Ash Wednesday Mass to mark the formal beginning of the Church’s Lenten season, the penitential period before Easter observed as a time of prayer and penance in reparation for one’s sins.

President Fr. James Murphy, CSB presided over the Eucharistic celebration and the blessing and imposition of ashes in Cemo Auditorium. He urged the congregation during his homily that during Lent “we are called to practice our faith in the context of our relationship with God, not simply for others to see the good deads. We are beginning a marathon – a challenge to pray, fast, give alms, sacrifice, and appreciate the blessings that God provides. Over the next 40 days, I will be praying for you that this Lent will be a great practice of the faith, even if you don’t see the results. And at the end of this marathon, we will all cross at the finish … prepared for the rest of our lives. The end will be a new beginning.”

In Rome, Pope Francis appealed to believers to use the 40 days of penance to let go of individualistic and self-reliant habits and to refocus their hearts on God and service to those in need.

“Let us set out on the path of fasting and use these forty days to take stock of ourselves, to free ourselves from the dictatorship of full schedules, crowded agendas, and superficial needs, and choose the things that truly matter,” he said.

Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.