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TCU hosted two Ash Wednesday services for members of the TCU community, a day some students used to reflect on their faith.

Ash Wednesday, an important Christian holy day, marks the first day of Lent — a 40-day season of fasting and prayer that ends on Easter. On Ash Wednesday, Christians are reminded of their own morality when they receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their forehead.

Twenty-two percent of students identify as Roman Catholic and 11 percent identify as Christian — the two largest religious preferences among students.

There was an all-campus service in the Robert Carr Chapel at noon and a Catholic mass held in the Brown-Lupton University Union ballroom at 5 p.m.; ashes were given out at both services.

Caroline Sumner, a sophomore who has attended mass on Ash Wednesday her whole life, said the day is special to her because it serves as a constant reminder of her faith.

“It is one of the only times that my faith is physically represented on me and is a physical reminder,” Sumner said. 

Sumner said the ashes remind her that she owes everything to God and needs to live her life honoring him. 

Sophomore Lindsey Bakonyi also recognized the physical aspect of Ash Wednesday. 

“You walk around in public and do your daily tasks with black ashes smeared across your forehead,” Bakonyi said. “You do get a lot of weird looks and questions from people who aren’t familiar with it.”

Bakonyi said religious holidays are special to her because of her busy college life. 

“I am not the best at making it to church every week so when there is an important day in Catholicism, it is more of a motivation to attend church and take time to pray and thank God,” Bakonyi said.  

Sophomore Ryan Marks attends Ash Wednesday because it helps him focus on the important things in life like “cutting out what is not beneficial to [his] physical and spiritual growth.”

Marks said Ash Wednesday has continued to affect him over time. 

“I do think that over time, Ash Wednesday and Lent have impacted me for the better, to learn how to be thankful and how to sacrifice, while focusing on what is really important,” he said.

Lenten devotionals written by faculty, staff and students are sent twice a week during Lent; to sign up, send an email to faith@tcu.edu.