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Saint Leo Students Offer Advice For A More Meaningful Lenten Season

From giving up bad habits to surrounding yourself with people who are good influences on you, here are some ideas to help with growth in mind, body, and spirit this year.

Tags: Catholic Catholic Identity Christian Community Service Core Values Education Center Religion Religious Studies Saint Leo WorldWide Student Affairs University Ministry Student and Family Engagement
13 February 2024 - By University Communications

On Ash Wednesday, February 14, the season of Lent begins, and for Catholics and many other Christians, it is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. During the 40 days of Lent, “we are called not only to abstain from luxuries, but to a true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ's will more faithfully,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated. 

Here, Saint Leo University students are sharing how they plan to observe Lent and offer some advice to their peers on how to have a more meaningful Lenten journey this year. 

Surround Yourself With Good Influences


Paul Vitaliti, a junior Honors Program student who is majoring in theatre with an English minor, said he would like to “surround myself with more good influences.”

Vitaliti, who participates in University Ministry events and is a resident assistant for Roderick Hall, continued, “I’ve taken Lent for granted in the past, and I think my closest friends at Saint Leo, who have my best interest at heart, will be able to help me as iron sharpens iron,” Vitaliti continued. “My goal is to remove and subdue negativity to further focus on my relationship with God and rediscover prayer.”

Develop A Closer Relationship With God


Larissa Polanco, who is a sophomore biology-biomedical and health sciences major, said “Lent is a time that gives each of us the opportunity to strengthen our faith and renew parts of our life’s journey. 

“For me, this Lenten season, I will be reading the Bible and praying the rosary daily,” Polanco continued. “I believe that I can make this Lenten season more meaningful by doing acts of kindness towards others. Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, each person is able to develop a relationship closer to God.”

Do Something Healthy — For Your Body, Mind, and Spirit

Senior Brian John, who received the sacrament of confirmation as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program in 2023, said he is focusing on giving up cursing and smoking cigars. 

“I want this Lent to be focused on the progression and longevity of my life, and smoking cigars is a very unhealthy habit,” John said.


Walking With Jesus This Lent

Lili Kozlowski, an Honors Program student, who is a junior religious studies major, said that Lent is her favorite liturgical season. “This season allows us to embrace poverty in leaving everything behind to follow Jesus and only to rely on him,” she said. 


“I believe Jesus first wants to go through the desert with us. I’d like to think of Jesus walking with us again as he is carrying the sins of the world on the cross. He’s willing to make the journey multiple times because of his profound love for all humanity. 

“For Lent this year I’m going to say ‘yes’ every day to walking with Jesus,” Kozlowski continued. “Our Blessed Mother Mary’s ‘yes’ for all of humanity and her trust for the will of God is inspiring me to do the same. To make Lent more meaningful this year, I’m going to ask our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph to accompany me on this journey. She and St. Joseph fled into Egypt shortly after Jesus was born leaving everything behind. Jesus is waiting for us, let us go to him.” 

More Ideas For A Meaningful Lent

1. Read a spiritual book: Take a few minutes (or even longer) to read something new and inspiring. It can be essays, poetry, a history of the saints — take time to relax and focus.

2. Perform random acts of kindness: Do something nice for another person. Surprise them with a thank you note, buy someone a cup of coffee, help them with chores, or call your parents!  Random Acts of Kindness Day is Saturday, February 17, but don’t stop there — continue the kindness. 

3. Serve those who are in need: Contact an area food pantry, church, homeless ministry, or other charitable organization to find out about volunteering. At Saint Leo, check in with the University Ministry team at or call (352) 588-8331 to learn more, and check EngageLeo for community service opportunities. Saint Leo’s WorldWide students, who study online and at education centers, may attend the Online Community Service Club meeting, 6 – 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 27, on Zoom. The meeting ID is Meeting ID 983 1657 4857. Contact club advisor Nancy Cheek at for more information.