Lent 2009 continues with a series of events

The Office of Campus Ministry is offering a variety of ways for students to observe Lent. This 40-day period before Easter began on Ash Wednesday, which was Feb. 25.

Dr. Pam Shea-Byrnes, vice president of Campus Ministry emphasized the importance of this religious season.

“Lent gives us a time to reflect on God in the middle of a busy semester,” she said.

Shea-Byrnes encouraged students to extend their Lenten goals into the rest of the year.

“During the Lenten season imagine who you want to be when the 40 days are over,” she said.

One of the events Campus Ministry is sponsoring is “Centering Prayer.” This is part of its “Meditation and Prayer” project.

“Centering Prayer,” which focuses on silent prayer, is taking place on Thursday, March 19 and Wednesday, April 1 in the St. Thomas More Church.

Another event, the annual Walk for the Homeless, is taking place on April 10, coinciding with Good Friday. This 5K walk will start at 9 a.m. and will take place throughout Queens.

Shea-Byrnes said the Good Friday walk “goes along with Campus Ministry’s mission to get students involved in the community this Lent.”

This year, St. John’s is participating in Operation Rice Bowl, a project that calls for the distribution of 300 rice bowls throughout the University during Lent. Students will be asked to collect donations. The donations will be sent to Catholic Relief Services, which distributes the funds in the U.S. around the world.

Other observances include a Lenten Prayer tree nearear St. Thomas More Church. Students will be asked to pick a prayer and pray for that person throughout Lent.

Midnight Runs allow students to work with the homeless. They are held two or three times a week all year, but some students feel that during Lent, Midnight Runs take on a greater significance.

“With Lent we are giving up what we have, which is time, not money,” said Cenia Santana, a sophomore.