Chaplain and Student Reflections Responding to tragedy and entering Lent

The pictures we show here of Canterbury Downtown students are often of fun times shared together. And, there are all kinds of feelings and stories at work in the minds and hearts of these students, even though smiles are what they are showing us in these moments.

Our community provides a space for students to be cared for, to be fed, to grow in their faith and to have fun together. It is also a place where students who are struggling can find support in their times of need. At the news of the death of an NYU student, let me remind you that I am praying for you all and you are invited to pray for one another. I am a resource to you or to a friend you may have who is in need and doesn't know who to talk to. God loves all of us, no matter what. God is love. Period. God's forgiveness for our brokenness is eternal. We are not perfect, and we will never be. But we can strive to love God and love God's family the best we can. And when our hearts are broken and grieving, we can turn to God again for strength and knowledge in God's love for us.

As we turn toward to season of Lent, let us not forget that we are not only recipients of, but reflections of God's love in the world. Let our Lenten practices be a lived way of turning toward God, toward love and letting God's love be seen and heard and felt in all the places our reflections of that love touches in the world around us. Amen. -Chaplain Mary Cat

If you or anyone you know is in need of a lifeline, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

As an NYU student, the news that over the weekend a student took their own life, was deeply upsetting for many reasons. Any loss of life at such a young age is heartbreaking, let alone it being a student who was someone’s roommate, someone’s friend, someone’s classmate. This time of the year can be a difficult time for us—the days are still short and cold, and students are already wading through all of the work that comes with midterms time. It is also the beginning of the Lenten season, with Ash Wednesday marking the start tomorrow. Typically for Lent, I’ve always been in the practice of “giving something up”, whether it’s soda or chocolate, not indulging in something I love was my way of committing to Lent. While I do still plan on giving something up this year (my social media accounts), I am making this commitment for my own mental health as well.

What we decide to practice for Lent doesn’t even have to be an act of “giving something up”, it can be that we commit to getting 8 hours of sleep each night, or taking a walk each day, or even fostering community with those that we care for. By intentionally adding something in, we are able to draw ourselves closer to God and remind ourselves that we were created perfectly— and any act of self love is a testament to our belief that we are worthy of God’s love. In the space of time that I would normally spend on social media, I am going to add in a devotional—another way that during this season we can draw closer to God. While Lent is considered a time of darkness, that does not mean we have to neglect ourselves in an act of “sacrifice”. We are loved, and by loving ourselves, we strengthen our faith. - Maria, NYU ‘20

The number for NYU Health and Wellness is 212-443-9999. NYU also has a web page called “MindfulNYU” where they have many resources and apps that are available for student use!