By Bobby Winner
Thiel College held an annual prayer service for Ash Wednesday, along with distributing ashes to those in attendance on Feb. 14.
Thiel held this service in conjunction with the St. Michael Catholic Church in Greenville, inviting the community to join in worship. The service consisted of songs, prayers, readings, and the distribution of ashes from members of the Thiel chapel staff and the staff St. Michael.
During the introductory rite from Pastor Jayne Thompson discussing Shaun White’s battle with heart disease and rise into Olympic fame.
Next on the agenda was readings from the gospel, including story of Adam and Eve, and Psalm 51, which the congregation would respond, “create a clean heart in me, O God. Create a clean heart in me.” There was also Gospel Verse from the first Sunday of Lent, also by Thompson followed by a reading from the Gospel of Matthew, Matthew 4:1-11, regarding Jesus resisting the temptation of the devil.
During the distribution of the ashes the congregation knelt before either Thompson or the pastor from St. Michael and had a cross drawn on their foreheads with dust while being told “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” After this came the Prayers of the Faithful, to which the congregation responded, “Lord, hear our prayer.” Closing out the service was a concluding rite from Pastor Jayne, reminding us to love one another, followed by a moment of silence for the victims of the Florida school shooting followed by the closing song, song #643 “Ashes.”
“This was a great and important service, one of the most important of the year in fact,” said senior Josh Kenst. “It is always great to work with the great staff of St. Michael, especially for us to come together for an important Ash Wednesday service that is so important to members of the Thiel and Greenville communities, alike. It is great to see such an enthusiastic crowd of returning faces to the chapel, as well as new faces. It is great to be part of something that so many hold dear, being the Ash Wednesday service, and hopefully I can have the same impact that PJ has had on me.”
“The way the world is nowadays and how depressing things can be, it’s a great feeling to be a part of something that positively influences so many people,” Kenst continues. “I think this service was a great time, there was a good attendance and a powerful and positive message from the rites that PJ gave, it is important to be the best version of you that you can be and to love everyone equally.”