The Day of Ashes

By: Belen Robles

     Ever wonder why some kids come to school on a random Wednesday with a dark cross on their forehead? Well, it’s probably Ash Wednesday, a Christian holy day of prayer that marks the beginning of Lent which is the 40 day period of fasting and abstinence. 

     The knowledge behind those who participate in this activity varies. Junior Kristy Witt knew not what this activity represented nor its background. She said, “I participate but I don’t believe in God. I just do it for my family.” 

     Ceasing to believe in religion is becoming common in teenagers but clubs like Active Catholics Everywhere (ACE) engage students at school to continue practicing. In fact, for Ash Wednesday, the club provided people from the church to distribute ashes to Catholics who want to partake in the service.

     This service was during school and when asked about her feelings wearing the ashes in the high school environment, senior Lia Perez said, “Honestly, before it was a little scary and intimidating because people can judge you for it but now I’m proud to walk around campus and show my faith.” 

     Senior Vianney Rodriguez also said, “It’s so much harder to express yourself at school because you're stepping out of your comfort zone,” but she explained that that is one of the main reasons she participates in this activity.

     Now Perez can contribute even more to her faith as social outreach officer in the ACE Club. She even gave a quick lesson about the meaning behind the event, saying, “The ashes represent sin and penance. Lent allows us to let go of our sins so by the time Easter comes, we can celebrate His resurrection with joyful hearts.” 

     From a different religious perspective, senior Samuel Monaghan said, “Lent feels more like an obligation, something you have to do, instead of it being from your heart.” As a Christian, Monaghan occasionally fasts but not due to religion. 

     Thus, Ash Wednesday, February 26th, was celebrated proudly within our school and services were provided in the choir room. 

     Rodriguez appreciated the youth ministers from St. Paul who she said, “Take time out of their day to come and do this for us so I can show how grateful I am about everything Jesus has sacrificed for us to be here.” Amen!