“To dust you will return”: NC Catholics reflect on Ash Wednesday


Tara Anastasoff

Two NC students boast ash on their foreheads in honor of Ash Wednesday.

Lindsey O'Neill, Reporter, Artist/Cartoonist

Catholics and other Christian students at NC boasted ash upon their foreheads today, known as Ash Wednesday, in honor of the beginning of Lent.

The ashes, received at a mass, symbolize the origin of each human (“for dust you are and to dust you will return,” Genesis 3:19) and the grief that sinners suffer from. Christians participating in the Lenten routines fast on Ash Wednesday in an act of cleansing. The many traditions bring up questioning from students who wish to know why they pass people in the hallway with ashes on their foreheads.

“I saw people in the hallways with ashes, and I was like, oh it’s Ash Wednesday. I don’t know what [the ash] is for, and it doesn’t affect me,” senior Katelynn Riner said.

While the Christian faith does not look down upon the removal of the ash after mass, NC houses students and staff who choose to let the ash be for the remainder of the day.

“Today I was walking down the hallway and a kid stopped me to ask ‘Is today Ash Wednesday?’ and I said ‘Yes.’ So obviously people can’t understand the signs of Ash Wednesday,” senior Andrew Gasparini said.

Keeping the ash upon one’s head acts as a reminder for those participating in Lent to carry a spirit of humility and sacrifice. The ash drawn in the shape of a cross indicates the Christians’ need to call upon their gracious and merciful God in times of suffering.

“If you think about [Lent] as a race, today is like the very first mile of my race to better myself and grow closer to God,” senior Kat Shambaugh said.

The Lenten season will continue for forty days until Easter Sunday. Until then, NC students observing Lent will abstain from eating meat every Friday and sacrifice a habit they feel puts more distance between them and God.