The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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This Lenten season: “Love Like This is Possible”

For 40 days and 40 nights, Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the holy day of Easter. This period is known as Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday. Father Luttenberger, a St. John’s priest, describes Lent as a “time when we give energy to change our lives for the better so that we might serve all our brothers and sisters and love them as our leader Jesus has done.”

Christians commemorate the season by fasting, praying, almsgiving, and temporarily giving up a worldly pleasure. At St. John’s, the Campus Ministry program helps students express their faith through a variety of mediums.

All around campus purple banners have been hung with the saying “Love Like This is Possible.” Campus Minister Trish Scalese says that the saying is meant to help people with their everyday interaction with family, friends, and everybody we meet in life.

“Jesus’ love for his disciples was so deep and real. With everything we see on TV and in society, we sometimes doubt if authentic and healthy love is possible,” said Scalese.  

St. John’s continues to have daily masses at 12:15 p.m. every weekday at St. Thomas Moore Church.

“Whatever we do, God is always there for us and we can see that through the sacraments,” said Lawrence Isong, a member of the choir during mass.  

With the diverse population at St. John’s, there are many ways that other people besides Christians can help celebrate the spirit of Lent. Fundraisers like Project Riceball and Catholic Relief Services help to remind people of the less privileged parts of the world. These two fundraisers require students to think about how much they have and the ability they have to make a difference just by donating a dollar or two a day.

Midnight Runs and visits to St. Nick’s shelter give students a direct look at the poverty that affects the world today.

St. John’s also recognizes the different faiths of students during Inter-Faith Week.

“We’re hoping to have a nice variety that will work to invite different backgrounds to attend,” said Scalese.

Inter-faith prayer services are events that allow students to pray for different faiths and in different languages.

Also, a forum on the first amendment and religion will be held to help see “what it’s like to live in this country and hold true to your own faith.” One of the biggest events will be the Festival of World Religions that will be held on Friday, April 1. During this event, all faiths represented on campus will showcase different traditions and artifacts.

Campus Ministry hopes to use the season of Lent as well to help students remember those who are affected by natural disasters. On March 21, a Taize and Rosary Prayer service was held for the victims of the Japanese earthquake. Along with the traditional Catholic

rosary prayer, native Japanese chants were sung to remember those who died in the tsunami as well as those who are now suffering the loss.

In the normal life of a working college student, there might not be time to set aside for any of these services or events. For those who do not have time to devote to these events, Fr. Luttenberger suggests that students set aside five minutes each day before bed to think how they could treat those around them better. But for those who want to attend events at St. John’s, the University offers plenty of activities throughout the day.

“We have two prayer services planned on [certain] days, so we’re trying to work it so that it can fit into just about anybody’s schedule,” said Scalese.

Other activities such as praying through yoga and Adoration of Eucharist also allow students to enjoy a relaxing environment.

Campus Ministry’s ultimate goal is to help the entire student body to act in a communal manner towards one another. To “Love Like This is Possible.” Ideally this would be stressed year round, but during Lent people strive to help each other and to be a better person. With the help of Campus Ministry, all of St. John’s will be able to get into this spirit.

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