By Natalie Salameh
On Saturday, March 29, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light offered a retreat day for the children of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Worcester, M.A. The focus of the day’s retreat was on the sacrificial love of God as seen in Passion Week, beginning with Hosanna Sunday, Thursday of the Mysteries, Great Friday and culminating on the Glorious Resurrection.
The children were shown an animated version of the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, beginning with Jesus washing the feet of his apostles. Later on in a small group bible catechesis, they learned our Maronite tradition of the priest washing the feet on the Thursday of the Mysteries as a reminder to us of Jesus’ lesson to His apostles – that we must serve one another with love.
The Sisters explained to the children that the Friday of Passion Week is called Great Friday of the Crucifixion and how much Jesus endured to set us free from the darkness of sin and selfishness. It was the greatest act of sacrificial love! The children were then asked by the Sisters to reflect on how they can best imitate Jesus in His sacrificial love for us.
Of course, to see Jesus suffer so much for our sake is sad, and the children were definitely moved by this part of Jesus’ passion, but we are always hopeful! After the scorn of Great Friday, comes the glorious morn of Resurrection Sunday. The Sisters explained to the children that by Jesus’ resurrection, He triumphed over sin and death forever, and so have we. As Jesus rose from the dead, so too will we rise with Him.
The children were able to meditate more on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, as
Fr. Gaby Hoyek, pastor, led the children in a prayerful meditation on the Stations of the Cross.
The children were then able to enjoy craft time, where they all decorated their own crosses to remind them of God’s great love for them.
The day finished with Fr. Gaby celebrating the Saturday Vigil Liturgy during which the children participated and assisted as altar servers, transferring the gifts, singing and reading the intercessions. Fr. Gaby and Fr. David George blessed the crosses that the children decorated at the end of the Liturgy.