MADISON — Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison show up in force to cheer on the Badgers and get free pizza during any number of Welcome Week celebrations.
But they also come out in large numbers for something much less conspicuous — an Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Paul’s University Catholic Center at the UW-Madison campus.
The beginning of Lent is a time for Catholics to reflect on their lives and strive anew toward our Lord. College students are naturally inclined toward reflection as they continue to chart the course into adulthood and all its responsibilities.
So it is not a surprise that 1,700 students squeeze into the pews of St. Paul’s during the five Masses held on Ash Wednesday. Some of these students attend Mass daily while others are coming back for the first time in years, but all are searching to know the God who created them.
For many years, St. Paul’s has printed Lenten Reflection booklets to aid students in this time of searching. These booklets contain reflections written by students based on the daily Gospel readings during Lent. Thousands of these booklets are passed out to students as a tool for prayer and meditation on Scripture.
This year, St. Paul’s is excited to debut new online and electronic formats with the hopes that more people will benefit from this booklet and the practice of Lectio Divina, the method by which one reads, meditates, prays, and contemplates Scripture.
The reflections in these booklets are a testament to the devotional heart of St. Paul’s students, young Catholics who strive to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ in their daily lives on the UW-Madison campus. These young people are a witness of the great hope for our Church and signs of the workings of God in our midst.
All are invited to make use of the St. Paul’s 2010 Lenten Reflection booklet as part of your Lenten practice. To view the daily reflections online or as an application on your iPhone or iPod Touch, please visit www.uwcatholic.org
If you wish to receive a daily e-mail with that day’s Scripture readings and the student reflection, please send an e-mail to
Carolyn Averill is the development associate at St. Paul University Catholic Center, the Catholic center serving students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.