This letter was sent to the St. Bonaventure University faculty, students, staff and friends from Edward Coughlin, Vice-President for the Franciscan Mission, and Robert Donius, Vice-President for University Ministries:
Peace and every good.
Lent is a traditional time when Christians pause to review and recommit themselves to living a pattern of life in conformity with core Gospel values. It is characteristically a time of prayer, reflection, and renewed concern for those who are in need. Presenting oneself to receive ashes, a symbol of one’s inner intention to embrace the spiritual challenge of Lent, is a way of declaring one’s commitment to take seriously the challenge of these 40 days. This year, Ash Wednesday will be celebrated on March 1. The Eucharist will be celebrated at 12:30 p.m. in the University Chapel. At 5 p.m., a special evening prayer, including the distribution of ashes, will take place in the University chapel.
On March 3, over 200 members of the Bonaventure community will embark on a journey to Mississippi and Louisiana to do what we can to assist those whose lives and homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Under the leadership of two faculty members, Todd Palmer and James Mahar, and a dedicated group of students, preparations for “BonaResponds” have been underway for several months and the buses will arrive on campus to transport the group as Spring Break 2006 begins.
I would like to urge as many members of the campus community as possible to attend the 5 p.m. Ash Wednesday service. It will be a special service that will (1) invite those gathered to undertake the inner journey of spirit that is the essence of the Lenten season and (2) commission for service those who will be participating in the “BonaResponds” efforts. The service provides a unique opportunity for us to stand together as a community that supports this effort, prays for its success, and appreciates what others are able to do in our name. The service will last 30-35 minutes.
Thank you for any consideration that you might be able to give to this invitation to join us in the University Chapel for a Service of Ashes and Sending.