News from Rumbek
Celebrating Easter at Loreto Rumbek
Easter is one of the most important Christian holidays, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, His death, and His resurrection from the tomb.
During this season, Christians remember Christ’s sacrifice and the freedom and grace that it offers for all believers. It allows a time to reflect and contemplate our own sins and to bring them to the cross so that they can be crucified along with Christ, knowing that we will be forgiven.
Like other parts of the world, the Loreto community prepared to celebrate Easter by observing the forty days of Lent season with the “Way of the Cross” every Friday evening. On the last week of the Lent season, the Loreto community celebrated Palm Sunday together with the Catholic faithful all over the world.
Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This marks the beginning of what is known as Holy Week. In order to prepare for the resurrection of Christ in our hearts, we had a time of confession on Holy Wednesday.
On Holy Thursday, Fr. Luka celebrated mass with us to commemorate when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Jesus symbolically showed humility by washing the feet of his disciples, a process that establishes the ceremony known as the Eucharist. Jesus demonstrated the importance and significance of how we are to serve others.
On the morning of Good Friday, the students and staff went for “the Way of Cross.” They stopped to conduct a reading and a prayer at each of the 14 stations prepared by the liturgy students.
In this walk, we remember the suffering that Christ endured. It helps students to better understand the theme of the season and its significance. As they observe quiet time, they learn to differentiate the sad time and joyful time as portrayed in the season that marks the death of Christ.
On the evening of Good Friday evening, there was Veneration of the Cross and the students watched the movie “The Passion of Christ” to help them understand the Easter doctrine: that Christ’s love is eternal and true, and that He died so we may be set free from sin.
This season inspires us to create God’s kingdom here on earth in spite of the many vices present. After the movie, the students had quiet time, commemorating the departure of Christ with hope of the coming resurrection.
On Holy Saturday we incorporate the ten families of the School Family. Each family holds a 30 minute prayer in the Loreto convent. The prayer session helps the students stay as family units, more bound together by Christ’s love. It is also a good opportunity for students to create peace through the understanding of Christ as an example as the “Prince of Peace.”
According to Monica Yier, the student in charge of liturgy, “The school family prayer creates an opportunity for us to hold individual prayers and pray together as a family too. It’s also a time where we create more love and stronger bonds through forgiveness as Christ forgave our sins. It helps us uphold our Christian values as we interact with each other.”
After family prayers, students quietly wait for the Saturday bonfire and vigil. During the course of the day, students gather a few twigs which are later used in the bonfire, as a symbol that Christ erased our sins. The new life and light that His sacrifice offers us is represented as each person is given a lit candle.
Through these sessions, they also learn the cultural activities of the Catholic Church. As they organize and conduct various sessions and church activities like readings, it grows their interest in future responsibilities related to church organization and leadership.
The events were concluded with Easter Sunday mass during which we sang and celebrated the resurrection of Christ.
The Easter festival helps students to understand the biblical or rather chronological events on the teaching of the life of Jesus. It also reveals the significance in real life, expanding their knowledge of the concepts they learn in class. As the students come together, they learn the value of prayers and hopefully deepen their faith.
This year the Easter break also allowed a time for students to re-energise as they wait to sit for end of term exams.