Campus ministers note Ash Wednesday’s significance

Entire school will gather in the Welch Activity Center for Mass


Nicholas Rodecap

Director of campus ministry Mr. Dave Neeson works in his office in the Shiel Student Life Center.

All students and staff will gather in the Welch Activity Center on March 2 for Ash Wednesday Mass and the start of the season of Lent. 

Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation; rather, all Catholics are asked to attend a Mass on this day. Assistant Campus Minister Mrs. Sara Bozzelli-Levine wrote in an email, “As Catholics we also observe Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting and abstinence. By not eating meat on this day and also on Good Friday, we are making a small sacrifice and practicing the discipline of self-denial. The challenge can be proactive to do good, not to just sacrifice or give up something bad.”

At this Mass, ashes are distributed as a sign of our dependence on God and our goal of Heaven. The school will be joined by Monsignor William Stumpf, the vicar general of the Archdiocese and pastor of Saint Matthew, as well as Fr. Emmanuel Babu Kallarackal. 

Director of Campus Ministry Mr. Dave Neeson wrote in an email, “Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent. We’re reminded of our dependence on God for eternal life, as well as the fact that from dust we were made and from dust we shall return. It’s an opportunity to refocus our actions to reflect our desire to live eternally in Heaven with Christ our King.”

Neeson and Bozzelli-Levine noted that the plans for this Mass are to bring the school community together and see the importance of this special day.

Neeson wrote, “The whole purpose of life is not to gain possessions, but rather to live in unity with Christ. Our goal is to gain access to heaven.  Attending Mass is in the most literal sense connecting to Jesus Christ in the most Holy Eucharist. It’s always worth your time to go to pray, to learn His voice, and to learn how to lean into His teachings.”

During this Mass, different prayers and readings will be offered to begin the season of Lent. Bozzelli-Levine wrote, “Our families, and our world, need prayer more than ever. We are all the body of Christ. Uniting our prayer in the celebration of Mass, we are a community of faith, each trying to be humble, contrite to turn from sin, and believe and live the Gospel. Ash Wednesday gives us that fresh start.”