The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

An Overview of Lent at BSM

Lauren Blok
Students are welcome to attend Lenten Masses before school on Thursdays.

As a Catholic school, Benilde-St. Margaret’s celebrates Lent, and the importance of this season is heavily emphasized in the Catholic Church. Seeing as only 21 percent of BSM students are Catholic, many non-Catholic students might be wondering ‘What is Lent?’ or ‘Why is it important?’ Luckily, the religion department has provided answers and insights to many of these questions.

Lent is a 40-day period where Catholics fast and repent in preparation for Easter, including the sacrifice of foods like meat on Lenten Fridays. This tradition stems from Jesus’s 40 days of being tempted by the devil in the desert. For this reason, many people fast, give alms, and pray. “Its traditions go back to various points in time, but some of the earliest traditions go back to the idea that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tempted. In His desert experience, He went without much of what we would call creature comforts,” Religion teacher Jeremy Cramer said.

It’s a time of self-reflection and awareness of one’s sinfulness and an opportunity to do better.”

— Jeremy Cramer

The first Lent event is Ash Wednesday. BSM took part in this holy day by encouraging students to write down what they are giving up for the Lenten season on a piece of paper. Afterward, these slips of paper were burned and became the ashes that students were anointed with during Ash Wednesday Mass. The 11th-century practice of signing an ash cross upon the forehead is meant to help people reflect. “It’s a time of self-reflection and awareness of one’s sinfulness and an opportunity to do better,” Cramer said.

In addition to Ash Wednesday Mass, students are offered the opportunity to attend prayer in the chapel every Thursday morning. Math teacher Bruce Becker believes that Lent helps students and teachers remember the purpose of repenting. “It challenges us to be better people. It really requires us to be thoughtful and self-reflective,” Becker said.

Holy week is at the end of Lent, starting with Palm Sunday. This is a day when Catholics celebrate Jesus returning from the desert on the back of a donkey. The Palm imagery usually symbolizes royalty, which is why it is used on this day. While BSM does not do anything as a school to celebrate, religious students will attend Palm Sunday Mass at their respective parishes. “For us today, Palm Sunday is the Sunday immediately before Easter, as we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery, the trial, execution, and resurrection of Jesus,” Cramer said.

Good Friday is one of the most sorrowful days of Holy Week. This was the day Jesus was crucified. Usually, Catholics watch or read renditions of the Passion of Christ. Fasting is very common on this day, even more so than the rest of Lent. Many Catholics also attend a prayer service on this day. BSM students have this day off to do so if they would like. “Sometime mid-afternoon on Friday, we recognize that this is the time that Jesus was physically put to death,” Cramer said. Easter Sunday is the end of the Lenten season and marks the beginning of the Easter season. It is celebrated with Mass, which is much different from regular Sunday Mass. “Easter Sunday is the day we recognize Jesus’ resurrection. He was executed on Friday, then when Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on Sunday, she found the tomb empty because Jesus had been resurrected,” Cramer said.

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