The Catholic University of America

Feb. 13, 2013

CUA Students Live St. Francis Prayer During Lent


A student receives ashes on Ash Wednesday.

This Lent, students at The Catholic University of America are applying their prayer, fasting and almsgiving through the actions described in the Prayer of St. Francis.

A guide produced by the Office of Campus Ministry encourages students to reflect on one line of the prayer each week and suggests related acts of fasting and almsgiving.

On Ash Wednesday, the guide focused on the opening line, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” After reflecting on a passage from Pope Benedict XVI’s Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), students were encouraged to think of neighbors that they have a difficult time loving, ways they can contribute to a peaceful life on campus, and whom God might be calling them to reconcile with.

The guide encouraged them to fast on Ash Wednesday and offered the almsgiving suggestions of committing to Project Rice Bowl, reconciling with a former friend, and signing the “iPromise” Spring Break pledge — an annual promise made by students to keep each other safe during their week off from classes.

Rev. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv, University chaplain, said the Lenten guide was created to address the desire of students to foster a culture of Christian life and inclusion, especially after recent violence in the world, including the shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.

“The shooting happened while most students were at home, and I didn’t want them to read a headline and then think the tragedy was over,” Father Jude says. “This Lenten program is a way for our students to not only pray for changes in the world, but also to take action and make a difference.”

The guide was based on the Prayer of Saint Francis because he “was a man of peace, a person who brought people together,” Father Jude says. “I think his prayer speaks to building a better community.”

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will be dedicated on one of the following intentions each week:

  • Where there is hatred, let me sow love: for the end to discrimination based on race, color, or creed
  • Where there is injury, pardon: for an end to the abuse of children
  • Where there is doubt, faith: for those who are marginalized because they are poor or have a disability
  • Where there is despair, hope: for the end of sexual violence against women
  • Where there is darkness, light: for the end of violence against others because of sexual orientation
  • Where there is sadness, joy: for an end to self-directed violence and suicide

During the Triduum, the guide focuses on the second half of the prayer and suggests praying for the end of violence against the unborn and their mothers.

Amanda Ceraldi, a junior theology major from Baltimore, helped contribute material to the guide on how the Church in America lives out the actions of the Saint Francis Prayer. “I think the guide is a great way to actively involve the CUA community in Lent,” she says. “For me personally, I think it’s a good way to structure how I will pray, fast, and serve my community.”

Several student organizations will share the materials and study them in groups. They will also post information in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center and dining halls. The guide is available online for those students who want to have a more personal Lenten reflection.

To help spread awareness of the Lenten guide, students from different organizations on campus are producing videos that are posted to the Campus Ministry website introducing the theme for each week.

For more information on the penance program and to view the student videos, visit



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