ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – On a day when Catholics all over the world could not eat meat, a priest compared Lent to a prime rib dinner.

“Imagine you’re going to an all-you-can-eat prime rib dinner,” said the Rev. Ross Chamberland, OFM, in his Ash Wednesday homily at St. Bonaventure University. “How do you prepare for that? Do you have a big lunch? Of course not. Why not? So you can eat more at the dinner. Lent is like that for the banquet of Easter.”

At the 8 a.m. Liturgy of the Word and ash distribution service, the Franciscan friar stressed the importance of removing everyday distractions from life during Lent.

Sign Up for E-News

“It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun to put some of our stuff on the shelf to focus on God,” Chamberland told the 40 attendees. “It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun, but it’s always worth it.”

Following the reading of a psalm, a Gospel passage and the sermon, Chamberland blessed the ashes and distributed them with the help of four volunteers.

“Turn away sin and follow the Gospel,” he said, while making the sign of the cross on the foreheads of those attending the service.

The half-hour service ended in song as those gathered chanted the Lord’s Prayer together and exited the chapel.