Students get opportunity to get involved for Lent 2008

St. John’s University is sponsoring a series of programs aimed at helping students understand Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter.

According to Stephen DeBlasio, the director of Faith Formation and Liturgy for Campus Ministry, “Imagine 40 Days” is this year’s theme.

“The importance of Lent is to take the opportunity to look more closely at how you live life,” DeBlasio said. “Originally, it was six weeks of preparation to become Christian, but now it is a reminder that we are not perfect. And that is not a negative. You can begin to become the best person you can be.”

On March 18, the University is invited to Campus Ministry’s version of the Living Stations of the Cross, where audience members can experience the passion of Christ on the day of his death.

Prior to this, there any many other events planned.

These events include retreats, such as the Lock-in Retreat. This retreat begins at 7 p.m. on March 7 with dinner, and is scheduled to end after morning mass and breakfast on March 8.

Other opportunities to reflect include the Busy People’s Retreat, where participants can fit in daily prayer and spiritual guidance into their busy schedules, spanning over a few weeks.

Another of the Lenten series, Java with Jesus, gives students the opportunity to talk about maintaining a relationship with God, while serving free coffee. There are two opportunities for this series, one on March 5 and one on March 12, at either 11 a.m. or 2:15 p.m. in the Thomas More Church Conference Room.

In addition, Campus Ministry offers a chance to attend a Religious Round Table, where members of a variety of faiths converge to discuss each other’s beliefs and share experiences. Despite different religions, people really connect with each other, DeBlasio said.

“The connection is that all the feast days deal with the notion of new life. It’s a big point of importance,” DeBlasio added.
Some members of the St. John’s community will experience a unique spiritual journey as they complete the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A) process.

This program usually includes 10-15 people each year who have either never been confirmed, or wish to be initially introduced to Christianity. The process culminates at the Easter Vigil, where the new members of the church receive their Rites of Initiation.