Ash Wednesday takes a different form this year due to COVID-19

Sofia Rositani Arts & Entertainment Editor

This year, Ash Wednesday looked very different for people in the Catholic religion all over the world. Some places gave ashes how they are normally done, and others did it with COVID-19 procedures in place. 

In the Adanti Student Center, I was able to obtain my ashes without going off campus. This is done every year with students who do not have transportation in mind. Usually, the person who does the ashes puts them on your forehead in the form of a cross, but this year, they just sprinkled it on your head.  

“The journey of Lent is an exodus, an exodus from slavery to freedom. These forty days correspond to the forty years that God’s people trekked through the desert to return to their homeland,” Pope Francis said during his homily on Ash Wednesday.  

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, when we receive our ashes and people aged from 18 to 59 begin to fast. This day is also when we give something up, for some people it is carbs for others it is their favorite streaming service or video games, we give this up for 40 days and do it until Easter. This also begins on meatless Fridays where every Friday, we cannot eat anything meat related.  

Because COVID-19 has affected many people this year, some places have received ashes differently. While I received mine sprinkled on my head on campus, my father and mother received theirs the normal way of receiving it with a cross on their forehead. Some places are doing this because they do not want to break the traditional ways of giving and receiving the ashes. This could be said the same for communion, many priests put communion in the hand of the receiver, but other places will continue tradition by putting it in the receiver’s mouth.  

It was very weird not getting my ashes the way I normally do because by the end of the day I tend to have it on my hands or other portions of my face, so it was very different and while I personally like to have the cross on my head because I am proud of my faith and love to show it, I liked the way Chaplain James Furlong applied the ashes.  

“I don’t think it changes in people’s minds what Ash Wednesday is all about. Ash Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, and it doesn’t matter how we apply ashes,” said Deacon Kevin Mastellon to WWNY news.  

I am very happy to know that even during a pandemic, the faith in Southern was still strong because I was very worried that I would have had to leave campus in order to receive my ashes, but luckily, Furlong came in to do it. While I was saddened to know that the Ash Wednesday mass was not happening, I was very glad that I could receive my ashes on campus because not many other universities are able to do this for their students and it would have been a hassle to go back and forth from campus to Waterbury to get it.  

“At the end of Lent, we will bow even lower to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters. Lent is a humble descent both inwards and towards others,” Pope Francis said. “It is about realizing that salvation is not an ascent to glory, but a descent in love. It is about becoming little. Lest we go astray on our journey, let us stand before the cross of Jesus: the silent throne of God.” 

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