People gathered Wednesday morning at the Alibrandi Catholic Center to receive ashes for Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent, a 40-day period. Lent is a period of time where people can do a little spring cleaning in their lives, Gerry Waterman, the Catholic Chaplain at Syracuse University, said:
“For us as Catholics we try to be good disciples. And life gets in the way sometimes and you get busy and you don’t focus on your spiritual life. This is just that opportunity every year to do that as a Christian.”
The service at the Alibrandi Catholic Center was the first of five “Ashes to Go” services. Three of the remaining four are at Hendricks Chapel. The fifth is back at the Catholic Center. In total, there are expected to be a couple of thousand people at these services, Waterman said.
While there are a lot of people expected to be at the services, Catholic Church attendance has been dropping. From 2005-2008, 45 percent of Catholics said they went to church, according to Gallup News. This is six percent more than 2014-2017, according to Gallup News.
Waterman is aware of the declining attendance, however, Waterman has not seen the issue of church attendance on Syracuse University’s campus, he said.
If you do see declining church attendance, Waterman encourages you to invite others and be a good example. He said he can also help with the issue.
“To be the best Priest possible,” Waterman said about what he can do. “To be the most welcoming, inviting, animated, enthusiastic.”