Lenten promises help youth grow as Catholics

By  Sarah Gagliano, Youth Speak News
  • April 20, 2011

This Lent, Emily Dulhanty, a Grade 12 student at Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., chose to do something nice for someone each day.  (Photo by Sarah Gagliano)

TORONTO - Brad Burt’s Lenten promise was to give up hot showers, which he stuck to for the 40 days. Now, he plans on continuing to sacrifice for the rest of the year.

“I gave up hot showers for Lent as an offering for my relationship with my girlfriend so that we can grow stronger in our faith on our own and as a couple, (and) also as an offering for helping us to discern marriage,” said Burt, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at the University of British Columbia.

Now that the 40 days of Lent are over, many students have Lenten promise success stories to share, along with some areas for improvement.

Marcio Alves, a fourth-year Portuguese major at the University of Toronto, aimed to give up some of his favourite foods for Lent: soft drinks, pizza, chocolate and popcorn.

Alves made strong efforts to keep all of his promises by having the words “Lent — pizza, pop, chocolate, popcorn” taped to his computer monitor. Alas, he only managed to keep the no popcorn promise.

“I’ve learned that I have broken promises simply because I wasn’t thinking about Lent or God at the time I was breaking them,” he said. “It’s led me to a realization that I personally have much work to do in terms of making God a bigger force in my life.”

Ana Paula Becerra said the success of keeping her Lenten promise has changed her. She gave up meat last year and promised to keep doing so throughout the entire year.

And the Grade 12 student at Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., is still going strong.

“It’s a lot easier to be determined,” she said. “Sometimes there are temptations, (but) if you really try hard it can be done. And I was actually very surprised.”    

Instead of choosing to abstain from something, Emily Dulhanty, a Grade 12 student at Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., decided to do some good this Lent.

Her Lenten promise was to do something nice for someone each day. She did small actions, such as helping someone out even if she was busy or offering a friendly hello.

Dulhanty believes this has helped her grow as a Catholic and hopes to continue her promise beyond Lent. One important lesson she learned from keeping her promise was that it helped her avoid speaking badly about others.  

A.G. Brown, a fourth-year book and media studies student at the University of Toronto, made a few promises this Lent, including working on her patience and stress management skills. While she was successful, Lent did not go by without having to deal with moments of temptation. When tempted to break her Lenten promises, Brown prayed the rosary.  

Brown hopes she can continue to keep her Lenten promises because they have helped her realize change is possible. And she feels her efforts have helped her grow as a Catholic.  

“It has definitely helped me grow in terms of my relationship with God. I understand more and more each day how He is such a guiding and protective force,” she said.

(Gagliano, 20, is a life sciences student at the University of Toronto.)


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