On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Loyola participated in a virtual Ash Wednesday ceremony through Zoom. To celebrate the first day of Lent, the Campus Ministry Staff needed to find a way to distribute the ashes, a crucial element of this mass, to students and faculty.
Days before the mass, the Campus Ministry staff delivered 1,400 ziplock bags with ashes that had been blessed by Fr. John Quinn, SJ. These bags were placed in envelopes along with prayer cards and instructions that were mailed out to all families, faculty and staff.
Director of Campus Ministry Matthew Schaeffer said, “ We wanted the entire community to be joined together for this special day, but needed to get creative to make that happen. We have received a large number of emails from people who are very appreciative for the ashes and for the Mass.”
The liturgy itself was held at 11:35 A.M. where students were required to wear at least a collared shirt as “formal” mass attire. Sung by the Liturgy choir, the music was created and assembled through iPhone voice memos that the choir members recorded individually, which were then synchronized together.
During the mass, students opened their ziplock bags and placed the ashes on their foreheads simultaneously to symbolize both death and repentance to Christ. The liturgical readings were pre-recorded as well.
Schaeffer said, “I’m grateful to the Campus Ministry Team and Fr. Quinn for making this event happen. I am hoping that we are able to join as a whole school community for next year’s Ash Wednesday, but we know what to do now if that isn’t possible.”