By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer
As part of its Christian mission, Baylor’s Spiritual Life department is hosting weekly prayer services throughout this season of Lent, along with an online Chapel series for Lent.
These services, which will be held over Zoom on Fridays at 12:15 p.m., will include prayer sessions, moments of confession, readings from traditions, as well as moments of intercession. Carlos Colon, assistant director for worship initiatives, explained that the programs will led by the chapel prayer team and are expected to last 20 minutes.
“The purpose of it is to have scriptures and prayers that go with the spirit of Lent, which is this 40-day period when the church puts an emphasis in repentance and discipline,” Colon said. “Also, where Christians walk with Jesus and make that journey with Him to the cross, so the Scriptures and the prayers will reflect that.”
Andrew Bellamy, a master’s candidate from Tyler who serves as president of Anglican Student Ministries (ASM), shared how highlighting prayer during this time allows for students to reach for the fullness of Lent season. Bellamy also said Lent season brings out a newfound sense of community to ASM and that it is a time to be more disciplined in the church.
For those who may struggle with their faith, Bellamy mentioned how their group is committed to spiritual direction and open communication to be supportive of everyone.
“Our student body has wonderful diversity in denominational beliefs and practices, and so these prayer services are ultimately a great way for Baylor to encourage consistency and intentionality in our Lenten practices, spiritual lives, foster ecumenism and emphasize our shared identity as Christians,” Bellamy said.
Because Lent is a 40-day period prior to Easter, it starts on a Wednesday – this day is celebrated as Ash Wednesday. This year the day fell on Feb. 17, when Waco was blanketed with snow and ice due to Winter Storm Uri. As such, this year’s event looked different due to the pandemic as well as the winter storm.
Colon explained how the original plan was for prayer guides and small crosses to be handed out, but it was quickly changed to an online event. Moving the service online, Colon mentioned how social media became an integral part of getting everyone’s attention.
“It was going to be a unique service already in the sense that they were going to come by and pick up a guide that they could use, you know there was not going to be the imposing the ashes on your forehead as it is every year,” Colon said. “So, it was already going to be unique and then with this added situation where basically the university was closed for almost the whole week, we had to depend again on social media.”
Aurora, Colo., junior Afton Tanner, president of the Catholic Student Association, said, while the services on campus are useful, she also participates in activities hosted through St. Peter’s Catholic Student Center. As she is a part of both Baylor and St. Peter’s organizations, Tanner explained that the midday prayer sessions through Baylor as well as Stations of the Cross through the student center both help members prepare for Easter.
“One aspect that has helped me grow in my faith is that it is not just fasting from food, but also an opportunity to fast from material goods or practices that draw you away from Christ and from the Church,” Tanner said in an email.
For those struggling with their faith this Lent season, Colon explained how the Spiritual Team is open to students if they wish to talk and that, whether through email or phone, the team enjoys talking with students and getting to know them. Colon suggested students keep up with the Chapel series online and read through the book of Psalms if they wish to stay active during this Lent season.
Colon also said the online midday prayer sessions are meant to join together the Baylor community through repentance and discipline throughout the season of Lent. To stay updated with Baylor Spiritual Life, check its website.