Sacrificing for Lent: For those who abide tradition, season a challenge

Goodbye, Taco Bell.

Farewell, candy and cola.

See you later, steak.

The Lenten season – Feb. 18 through April 2 – means something different to almost everyone at University of Detroit Mercy.  

For many, it is a time for sacrifice.

Though Lent stems from the Catholic faith, many Catholics do not give up anything for Lent, and many non-Catholics do give something.

Melissa Guerra, a double major in economics and political science, is going without meat for Lent for the second year in a row.

With spring break approaching, Guerra is planning to head to Belize, her home country, to see her family and get out of the cold weather.

But she fears her trip home may interfere with her no-meat pledge.

“I will probably be able to do it while I’m still here,” Guerra said. “But I know once I get home, I won’t stick with it.”

Though she may cave on her vow, Guerra is excited to go home and see her siblings.

“We will probably all just give up the meat on Fridays,” Guerra added.

Megan Susalla, a junior in the nursing program, plans to forgo fast food.

“I eat way too much Taco Bell,” Susalla said. “Taco Bell is life.”

Last year, Susalla gave up smoking hookah, but said she broke early.

“Hopefully, I can make it through this year without breaking early again,” she said.

Rosanna Reynolds, point guard on the women’s basketball team and an accounting major, was having some initial problems deciding what she is going to give up.

Ultimately, she decided on candy.

“I’m a candy addict,” Reynolds said.

Last year, she gave up using curse words, but she had a hard time following through.

She said she hopes this year will be easier.

Alexis Steixner, a 20-year-old five-year MBA student, is Lutheran, and Lutherans do not usually celebrate Lent, she said.

However, Steixner is one who participates for non-religious reasons.

“I like to give something up just for personal health and discipline,” Steixner said. “But I’m not sure what it will be this year.”

Jane Schley, chemistry and biochemistry administrative assistant, always makes it a point to celebrate Lent.

Last year, Schley decided that instead of giving up something, she would add an extra 30 minutes of exercise to her daily routine.

This year, however, she decided to revert back to tradition and is giving up chocolate, candy, all snacking and all colas.

She said she is challenging Prof. Mark Benvenuto do it with her.

Religious studies Prof. Jennifer Rike, who is approaching her twentieth year at UDM, is on a special diet that is like a year-long Lent.

“I do not eat any sugar or grain,” Rike said. “Diabetes runs in my family, so I really need to be careful.”

Rike suggested the possibility of giving something else up for lent, such as coffee or alcohol, but she said neither of those were really difficult.

“I very rarely drink alcohol, so that wouldn’t really be a challenge,” Rike said. “I will probably just stick to my usual diet.”

Taylor Batcheller, a 21-year-old biology major, views Lent in a different way than most.

Similarly to Jane Schley, Batcheller suggested adding, rather than giving up, something.

“I don’t really believe in giving things up for Lent,” Batcheller said. “I feel like Jesus wouldn’t really care if I gave up Starbursts for a couple months. I feel like he would want me to be a better person, be a better friend or volunteer more.”