A Time of Preparation

Dowling gets ready for Easter


E. Ponxs

Father Flood applies ashes to a student during Ash Wednesday Mass.

Alaina Cleghorn, Staff Writer

For 40 days, Christians grow in their relationship with Christ through sacrifice and prayer. This period of time helps people understand what Christ went through leading up to his crucifixion, and to appreciate the gift of life. “It’s just kind of a time of remembrance and a time of focusing our lives on things that are most important,” says Mr. Smith, a theology teacher at Dowling.

The 3 pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and alms giving. While these are not required, they help guide Christians through the Lenten season and are a good thing to fall back on when we feel lost.

This year, Mr. Smith is going to participate in prayer by praying the rosary each morning after he drops his kids off at daycare. He is also going to dedicate his time to reading a book called Made This Way by Leila Miller and Trent Horn. 

“I consider reading a form of prayer if you do it in a specific way,” says Smith. This book is designed to help parents teach their kids about moral issues. Through reading it, he hopes to grow as a father and be better equipped to answer any questions his children have. 

Fasting has been a hard thing to conquer for Mr. Smith. This year he wants to focus on fasting each Friday. Fasting is important because it is one way that we can participate in Christ’s sacrifice. It is a sign of self-discipline. 

For alms giving, he is going to try to do simple acts of service with his children. The goal is to “bring those that are in the margins back to the center and in your lives,” says Smith. He hopes that his young children will learn the importance of giving to others. 

Mr. Smith encourages students to reflect on their lives this Lent. “It’s not necessarily giving something up, but it’s what can I focus on to make myself a better Christian?” says Smith. Additionally, students can download apps that help them through these 40 days. 

On February 22, Dowling celebrated Ash Wednesday mass. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Students receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their foreheads.

The ashes, which are made from burning palms from Palm Sunday, are marked on the forehead to symbolize repentance. Christians are called to go to confession during this time so that their sins can be forgiven. 

As ashes are applied to each person’s forehead, the Eucharistic minister says, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This is a reminder that our earthly lives are only temporary. While we are here, our purpose is to grow closer with Christ and prepare for death. 

Deacon Heinrich preaches the Gospel with Dowling students [A. Pierson]

This Lent, I am hoping to limit my screen time. When I feel bored or I am procrastinating, I find myself mindlessly scrolling through posts on Instagram. For 40 days, I’m challenging myself to find other things to do during this time. Whether that means reading a book, praying, or cleaning, I want to be productive. 

I often go back to social media because it is comfortable. Sometimes I don’t want to be alone in my thoughts, so I go on my phone. This Lent, I’m going to try to break down one of the barriers that separate me from God. I am going to give up Instagram.

I also plan to attend Mass at Dowling at least once a week and pray one decade of the rosary each morning. Hopefully adding these things to my schedule will strengthen my prayer life.