By Carolyn Harmon
GREENVILLE – St. Mary’s Catholic School, in Greenville, celebrated Holy Week April 10 – 14.
On Palm Sunday, April 9, Catholics, and other denominations, celebrate the first joy of the Easter season as they celebrate Jesus’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Here, he was welcomed by crowds worshiping and laying down palm leaves before Him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week, with the greatest tragedy and sorrow of the year.
The idea behind these experiences for the students is to make holy the time of Holy Week at the school, and to make the Triduum Liturgies, the period of three days beginning with the liturgy on the evening of Holy Thursday and ending with Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, more accessible. The activities included the following: Washing of the Feet, Breaking of the Bread, and Venerating the Cross.
On Tuesday, the Washing of the Feet began with a reading from the Bible, John 13, “Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet”. St. Mary’s School Principal Vernon Rosenbeck washed the feet of some volunteer staff. The teachers each had a foot washing station for their homerooms, where the children participated in foot washing.
On Wednesday was the Breaking of the Bread. The eighth-graders went to each classroom with a round loaf of bread. The kindergarten students sat in a circle with their teacher Casey Dietz while eighth-grade students Carlos Badell and Jacob Maher read a reading from the the Bible, The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians: “The cup of blessing that we bless; is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break; is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we though many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. The word of the Lord.”
According to Maher, this representation of the Last Supper is a concrete example.
“It will help the little kids to know what it is, because they haven’t learned much about it yet,” he said.
Before the students ate the bread, they prayed, passed the bread around the circle, each tearing a piece and saying something for which they are thankful. Some of the thankfulness went to: grandpa in heaven, the school, mom and dad, an aunt and a strong daddy.
Venerating the Cross took place on Thursday. Students entered the church and venerated the cross near Mary’s alter, by offering a gesture of respect to all that it represents. This gesture usually includes one or more of the following: kneeling, bowing, kissing, prostrating or touching.
According to St. Mary’s Principal Vernon Rosenbeck, the purpose of the Holy Week activities are to remind students of what really happened.
“We want the students to realize what Jesus went through before his death and resurrection,” he said. “It is very important for the students to know that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny and candy but it is our Lord dying for us.”
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