What Are You Giving up for Lent?

We asked FCLC students about their Lenten sacrifices and their thoughts on the tradition

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While the month of March brings brighter mornings and, for most college students, spring break, it is a rather solemn month for most Christians. Lent is a time of reflection and penance as Christians worldwide observe this religious period beginning on Ash Wednesday, which this year fell on March 6, and ends roughly six weeks later on Easter Sunday.

During Lent, many Christians fast, avoid eating meat on Fridays and decide on a Lenten sacrifice. A Lenten sacrifice generally consists of giving up a certain luxury to echo the temptation that Christ endures in the Bible, where Jesus travels through the Judean desert and fasts for 40 days and 40 nights. Here are what some students at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) — and the university president — said about their Lenten experiences this year:

A break from the famous Seattle coffee chain

“I realized I was spending way too much money at Starbucks and drinking way too many lattes. Plus gluttony is one of those big bad sins, so I knew I needed to slow down. And so I gave up Starbucks for Lent this year. It’s been pretty hard as I find myself always wanting to stop in for a snack or a chai tea latte. But it’s been good since now I’m actually drinking all the tea I have stockpiled in my dorm to still get that caffeine fix.”

– Sarah Grace Houston, FCLC ’20

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEEKER-ADAMS

A farewell to negative vibes

“I gave up negative self-talk for Lent. It is fairly hard to be honest about that because sometimes I find myself doing it without even knowing. The farther we get into Lent though, the easier it has gotten for me to notice it and control it more.”

– Janel Fitzgerald, FCLC ’20

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEEKER-ADAMS

An installation of a swear jar

“I gave up cursing for Lent because I wanted to give up something empirical that I could measure and easily be held accountable to. I think that my cursing really increased while in the freedom of college. I think it’s something that doesn’t enrich my life, but I definitely enjoy using invective and colorful language, so it’s been challenging.”

– Charles Scheland, FCLC ’20

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEEKER-ADAMS

An addition, not a subtraction

“This Lenten season I have decided to dedicate more time to prayer. One of my favorite places to pray is at St. Paul the Apostle. I visit occasionally during the week after classes at the Ailey School to end my day. I decided to make my visits more regular during Lent and go in the morning before my dance classes each morning. It would be a spiritual warm-up before my physical dance warm-up.

“On the first morning that I went, the sun was shining through the back stained glass window, casting an orange light on the right row of pews. Never having been at the church at this hour, this was a new and beautiful sight that reassured me that taking time to pray could be, and always was, fruitful. Sticking to my new morning routine has not been easy though. I have had challenges getting up earlier and have not had a perfect track record. Despite this, I do feel more conscious about my prayer life lately and hope to continue my morning sunshine visits throughout the rest of the year.”

– Amanda Egan, FCLC ’19

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEEKER-ADAMS

A traditional Lenten sacrifice

“This year for Lent I decided to give up sugar. I wanted to give up something that would challenge me over the 40 days and since I have a sweet tooth, I thought it would be a rewarding challenge. Right now, all I want are caramel M&Ms but I know they’ll taste 10 times better at Easter.”

– Morgan Steward, FCLC ’19

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEEKER-ADAMS

A statement

“The best Lenten observance is not giving anything up, but committing oneself to works of mercy.”

– University President Rev.

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.