SFA students commemorate Ash Wednesday to mark first day of Lent - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

SFA students commemorate Ash Wednesday to mark first day of Lent

Reverend Ashley Cook and Deacon Cuniff participated in Ashes To Go outside the SFA student center. (Source: KTRE Staff) Reverend Ashley Cook and Deacon Cuniff participated in Ashes To Go outside the SFA student center. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Three Ash Wednesday masses were held at St. Mary’s Catholic Chapel at the Catholic Student Center near SFA. (Source: KTRE Staff) Three Ash Wednesday masses were held at St. Mary’s Catholic Chapel at the Catholic Student Center near SFA. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Deacon Wanda Cuniff with Christ Episcopal Church in Nacogdoches administers ashes to SFA student Kelsey Davis. (Source: KTRE Staff) Deacon Wanda Cuniff with Christ Episcopal Church in Nacogdoches administers ashes to SFA student Kelsey Davis. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and 46 days before Easter. 

It's when many Christians obtain a cross of ashes on their foreheads. The observance is traditionally conducted at a special church service.
East Texas News found another option at “Ashes To Go.”

A windy day and Beyonce' music playing outside the student center at Stephen F. Austin State University didn't phase the Episcopal clergy administering Ashes To Go.

"So remember your dust and to dust you shall return,” said Deacon Wanda Cuniff with Christ Episcopal Church Repent, receive the good news of Jesus."

"Thank you so much,” said Kelsey Davis, an SFA student.

"Bless you,” Cuniff replied.

Episocopal Jacks know sometimes students' busy schedule prevents them from attending church services on Ash Wednesday. 

"It's important to remember to meet people where they are and not necessarily where we think they should come to us,” said Nathaniel Black, an Episcopal Jack.

Reverend Ashley Cook knows many students take a break from their religious upbringing. At the same time the Episcopal Jacks missioner says …

"Also there's a deep craving in college students for tradition,” Cook said. “There's really a deep satisfaction in being connected to the generation's past."

It's what creates a need for three Ash Wednesday masses at St. Mary's Chapel at the Catholic Student Center. Brianna Clark hadn't participated in Ash Wednesday since age 9.

"Just all through this past year I've been growing in my faith,” Clark said.

"There's a great devotion of the students at large at Stephen F. Austin,” said Austin Thurman, the programs director at St. Mary’s Catholic Ministry.

Whether at a traditional church service or at an unconventional setting, there are young people participating in the most popular day in the Christian church calendar.

Ash Wednesday is most often observed by Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Presbyterians. Other protestant churches, including some Baptist churches, are known to observe the holy day, too.

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