Easter Sunday marked the end of Lent, when many Catholics choose to abstain from a guilty pleasure for 40 days to pay homage to the sacrifice they believe Jesus made for them. At USF, many choose to follow this tradition for spiritual reasons or simply as a personal test of character.
Senior Patrick Phillips said he tried to give up chocolate and cigarettes, but cheated on the cigarettes a few times. Freshman Barbara Evangelista also gave up chocolate, cutting down from a bar-a-day habit. After 40 chocolate-free days, she had a few mini chocolate Easter candies on Easter and said, “It wasn’t that wonderful,” and that she now has no more cravings.
Some students, such as freshman Deirdre Long, tried more inventive resolutions. Long gave up the dessert crepes from the Market Café, as well as many of the unhealthy fried foods from the grill section. She said in the 40 days of a Lent, she rarely felt cravings for these foods and her skin cleared up from eating more healthfully. Now that Lent is over, she does not feel the need to indulge so much. “I feel like once I’ve given it up for 40 days, I know I don’t need it anymore,” Long said.
Freshman Annie Tull decided to give up the sweetener high fructose corn syrup. “I was obsessed with this cranberry apple raspberry juice sold at the cafe but I realized it had high fructose corn syrup in it. I was going to give up just the juice, but then I decided to give up HFCS altogether.” Tull said it wasn’t very difficult to abstain because she generally eats many organic and natural foods, but she checked on items such as cereal if she didn’t know, and did accidentally slip up a couple of times. After the 40 day cleanse, she tried her favorite juice again, and said that after drinking a third of the bottle, she had to stop because it gave her a headache.
Catherine Mifsud, director of University Ministry retreats, tried a different approach to Lent this year. “A lot of people use Lent as a 40 day diet or a second shot at a new year’s resolution and I think a lot of significance gets lost.” Instead of giving up one vice for 40 days, she practiced the Fast Pray Give philosophy posted on a website for young adults called BustedHalo.com. On each date of the 40-day period, there is a suggestion for what to fast from, what to pray for, and who to give to; for example, one day it advised people to fast from television and pick up a book instead, pray for those who do not have access to education, and give used books to local libraries, hospitals and after-school programs.
While in years past Mifsud made traditional Lenten Resolutions such as abstaining from candy or soda, she felt a more significant experience this year by giving back as well. After all, she said, “How is it going to help the world if I give up chocolate?”