By Ben Donohoe
The Loyola High School community gathered for the Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 10, in Xavier Center. Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Gerald Hudson, S.J., and the Rev. Fr. Stephen Barber, S.J., and the Rev. Fr. John Quinn, S.J., were concelebrants.
Fr. Hudson said, “My goal [when giving the homily]was to simply bring out the readings, especially the first reading and the Gospel, and to give ways in which people could understand those readings in terms of their day-to-day lives.”
Led by Campus Ministry Co-Director Matthew Schaeffer, the choir provided music for the Mass. “Music is an essential part of the Mass,” Schaeffer said. “When everybody joins in one voice in a common refrain, that is a moment when we are one. We are a community singing with one voice.”
Toward the end of the Ash Wednesday Mass, ashes were placed in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of attendees. These ashes come from the palm branches used on Palm Sunday in 2015.
Theology teacher Thomas Cendejas said, “One of the things that is encouraging to see is when students get involved in the distribution of the ashes. I think that it is a wonderful thing to see a student bless one of his teachers or a fellow classmate.”
During the Lenten season, the Loyola community prays the Examen, a reflective prayer from St. Ignatius. “[The Examen] is really a way for us to find God in all things,” theology teacher Michael Shawver said. “It’s a great practice for us as a school community to help prepare for Easter.”
Additionally, Zlicious, Loyola’s food vendor, has replaced meat with shrimp and fish on Fridays during Lent in accordance with the Catholic Church’s guideline.
During Lent, sophomore theology classes are participating in the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl program. This program collects donations to help impoverished people around the world. Shawver said, “The Rice Bowl program is a Lenten program to help us pray, fast and give and to be aware of people in other countries so that we can be in solidarity and in a relationship with them on our lenten journey.”