A message from the Vice President, Father Anthony Casamento:
As a Catholic university, ACU lives the yearly liturgical seasons within the Catholic faith. And this week we begin the celebration of the season of Lent. Lent is one of the most important liturgical seasons observed by all Christians. It is the period of time between Ash Wednesday (February 14 this year) and Easter, and is geared towards spiritual purification, meditation and penance. Taking time to reflect on this during Lent reminds us of what is important in life and points us beyond ourselves to our neighbours and their needs.
As the beginning of the Lenten season, Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and repentance. Christians from around the world are invited to receive ashes upon their forehead in the sign of the cross, while the words "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return“ are recited. These ashes serve a dual purpose. Firstly, they remind us of our mortality and humanity as we begin the Lenten fast. Secondly, the ashes are a biblical symbol of repentance, sorrow, and humility.
As a mirroring of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert in the Gospel accounts, Lent calls and challenges us to retreat, self-examine and re-find our way; to focus again on what is at the heart of our faith - the hope that we hold in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus that we recall and celebrate at Easter.
During Lent, our Campus Ministry team will be providing opportunities for our staff and students to enter into the season in preparation for Easter. These opportunities include Shrove Tuesday, support of Project Compassion, Lenten groups, our giving drive - “40 Items for 40 Days” along with social media and workplace reflections from staff and students.
As a University with a deep sense of our Catholic tradition, lived through our mission, may the days ahead and the opportunities provided help us achieve more fully our potential as people of hope, joy and compassion and help us come to a greater understanding of the value of the communities we are part of.