Atte Myllykoski: Ash Wednesday at UCR

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Ash Wednesday at UCR Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season for members of the Catholic Church. On March 1st, 2017 UCR had a public mass on campus. The preacher said that it hadn’t been done at UCR for the last ten years and they are excited to bring it back. About 200 people gathered up to participate in the event. The event consisted of singing, praying and listening to the preachers teachings.

In the beginning the preacher held up a wooden crucifix. When he held it up he gave us
the option of bowing our heads to pray. He then gave us some background information about how Catholics don’t believe that Jesus is crucified anymore but instead is by the lord’s side. This ritual got me thinking about how in the Tylor lecture, Jonathan Smith talks about how myths and beliefs raise no issue for thought but ritual gives rise to comparative inquiries. The things that the preacher wore and the rituals he performed spoke louder than the person next to me who was just thinking his own thoughts.

Another thing that I was thinking about was how this event brought members of the
community together. Durkheim talks about religion being a good thing because it strengthens the collective consciousness and brings individuals together. The level of thinking that I experienced during the event was something that I could have not performed myself and it was brought up on me by the community. Also the collective consciousness really heightened my ideas of the sacred and the profane. The crucifix seemed more powerful of a symbol when it was in front of the crowd.

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