Bangalore – St. Guanella Mercy Church celebrated Holy week in a prayerful manner. It was more meaningful that the entire community participated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the events during Lent. The Way of the Cross was organized and led weekly by each different group. Each day of Holy Week was planned and executed in a way that set a bench mark for us. Both Tamil and English Masses were well attended. Mass of the Lord’s Supper and washing of the feet went well. On Good Friday the confreres, Cooperators, GLM and parishioners enacted the passion of Christ as a live Skit, touching many hearts. The scene at Calvary could be visualized by everyone who participated. Veneration of the Holy Cross followed in a service combining Tamil and English. The Easter Vigil was solemnly celebrated by the presenting of the Resurrection in an imaginative way, with thunder our Lord rose in Glory. The faithful reacted by singing the Gloria. The house was decorated beautifully with lights and flowers for this glorious occasion. After Mass we shared Easter eggs, cake and milk.
Water…Water…Water…Unseen drought and water scarcity in the last 125 years in India! Cauvery Delta has become a cursed area of dry land..sudden death and suicides of farmers…families in tears and frustration…farmers threatened by loan-givers, pushed to shame and disgrace…Insensitive rulers who are prepared to sell water-resources to multinational companies depriving the native poor of their right to have access to water… still pathetic the Church, the Body of Christ, especially the Urban and institution-filled Church considers this problem as the problem not pertaining to it…No water…thirst, thirst…everywhere. Land is thirsty, animals domestic and wild are thirsty… and this Good Friday, the Church once again preaches on the last words of Jesus on the cross, ‘I THIRST.’
It is very simple to give a spiritual explanation for the words of Jesus, I Thirst. His thirst was for the Kingdom which would imply a community built on brotherhood, fellowship and unity. Sensitivity is the basic aptitude lying below these humanitarian values. Is it possible for us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Jesus while a part of this mystical body is moving towards abandonment, alienation and death? Jesus could rise again and resurrection was possible for Him, as He was able to relive the abandonment of the poor Israelite, “Why did you abandon me?” Identification with the poor, reliving the miseries of the miserable, undergoing the atrocities of the unjust along with those who were persecuted for the sake of justice…were the unmistaken means of His exaltation….He could be exalted to the right hand of the Father only because he was at the right and left of other crucified men! The piercing of His side with the flow of water and blood was the last means of satisfying His thirst for God’s kingdom here on earth.
During Lent, during Holy Week, and especially on Good Friday, are we going to thirst … thirst for identification with those who are thirsty, literally begging for sustenance, food, water …to live a few more years on this earth. Can we be satisfied with the streams of water gushing from His side while we are not prepared to spare our fellow-men, the members of the mystical body of Christ, to quench their thirst? It is time for us to think what we must do collectively and individually for these thirsty parts of humankind if only we would celebrate the joy of the gushing waters…the Resurrection!
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Vatluru – The Paschal Mysteries were celebrated in a meaningful way at Sacred Heart Parish. Holy Thursday ceremonies were celebrated by Fr. Joseph Peter with Fr. Shantham as preacher. A large number of people participated and witnessed the Rite of the Washing of the Feet. On Good Friday, as is the custom of the Parish, the Way of the Cross began at 7am and the people went in procession throughout the village. At Vatluru center gate, Fr. Joseph Peter gave a speech on the Passion of the Lord. Adoration of the Holy Cross began at 2:45 pm in the church and the people meditatively participated. The Easter Vigil Mass began at 11pm, the paschal candle was lit and the people went in procession towards the altar with candles in hand. The grounds were packed for this serene and meaningful celebration. A few adults and babies were baptized during the Mass. The celebration concluded by setting off firecrackers.
Cuddalore – “Thalirgum Siluvai Maram,” a new book on the Way of the Cross, was released by Guanellian Publications on March 5th, Ash Wednesday. The book contains six different reflections on the Way of the Cross: the view of Jesus Christ (Fr. Antony Samy, SdC), a Marian perspective (Fr. Adaikalam, SdC), the Gospel narrative (Fr. John Paul Britto, SdC), the social point of view (Fr. Rajesh, SdC), the perspective of suffering (Rev. Sr. Pushpa, DSMP) and the youth perspective (Fr. Louis, SdC). It also contains Holy Week liturgies, Mass and reading introductions, sermons, model for Maundy Thursday Adoration, other commentaries and Lenten songs. The book was sold out in the first week. This first initiative by Guanella Publications was a great success.
Saigon – The Servants of Charity in Vietnam usually start Holy Week with a pilgrimage. This year the destination was a Benedictine Monastery located in Thu Duc District of Ho Chi Minh. The journey began at 5 am on Sunday, March 24th, setting out on foot to the monastery; walking in silence and praying the rosary. The walk was reminiscent of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Upon reaching the monastery, Rev. Sr. Trinh (Benedictine Nun) gave a recollection to the boys based on the preparation for Easter celebration. Palm Sunday Mass was celebrated at the Monastery before heading home by bus. It was a meaningful day for everyone.