Ash Wednesday as a CAPE Catholic

Growing up in a family where my mother was an atheist, my father a lapsed catholic, one set of grandparents having jewish roots, and one set of grandparents as devout catholics, I eventually settled in somewhere between a cultural catholic and a devout catholic. Meet the lifestyle of a CAPE catholic.

CAPE – Christmas, Ash [Wednesday], Palm [Sunday], Easter

Except I can’t remember the last time I attended Mass on Christmas or Easter since I usually am obligated to spend those holidays with my atheist relatives and as a result I find myself picking up a few other days throughout the year.

I woke up on Ash Wednesday to a notice that my University had canceled morning classes, leaving me with a feeling of relief that I would be able to make it to 8:00am Mass without having to rush to find parking or be late for my 9:00am class. I went to Mass, I got my ashes on my forehead, I did a ridiculous amount of homework, made a snap decision on what to give up for Lent, and then I got a text from my best friend.


Because I didn’t quite learn my lesson on Friday I said yes, and thus I went to a bar, with ashes on my forehead, at noon, on a holy day of obligation. To reiterate the amount to which we went a little too hard on Friday, the bartender remembered us, and brought us water, and seemed surprised when we didn’t drink anywhere near as much as we had the last time she had seen us (we weren’t quite aiming for stumbling this time). I also knew that simply splitting an order of fries (I actually attempt to fast during lent although I don’t quite ever know why) wasn’t going to keep me sober unless I kept my drink count down.

As I mentioned before I made a snap decision on what to give up for lent. I have been doing this for every year since I was first asked to give something up for Lent. As a result I usually end up deciding what to give up for lent be figuring out what bad habit I have yet to indulge in by noon on Ash Wednesday that I also feel I can go 40 days without while also not murdering someone. This year I choose to give up the elevator in the academic building I spend the most time in. Friend of the year award goes to my best friend for parking on the other side of the building today for the sole purpose of being able to walk into the building on the side with less stairs since they knew I was avoiding the elevator.

Post responsibilities I sat down for my light lenten dinner around 8:30, which was paired with diet coke (against the guidance of my neurologist) and followed by nicotine (against the guidance of the FDA). Is it what most Catholics did on Ash Wednesday? I hope not. Did I enjoy myself, of course.



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