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Youth and the “Rhythm of the Easter Liturgy”*


By Renée Smith

Holy Week generates a fire in people generally but are our young people plugged into the Feast of Feasts?

The question was raised on last week’s Breakfast with the Deacons programme where parish priest of St Dominic’s RC, Penal, Fr Robert Christo and parishioner Valerie Bethel, shared how the community engages the youth for Holy Week.

To prepare for the ritual re-enactments of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth, a planning committee was setup.  The goal in mind is to get the youth to enter into a place of deeper conversion and mission, said Bethel, adding, “We want them to have a clear understanding of their faith and the history behind it and therefore coming to a deeper understanding of it.”

Exploring ‘theo-drama’—using elements of drama to expound theological truths—was one of many ways to get youth to that deeper understanding.

Bethel said the young people read the scriptures, internalise it and then reanimate the Paschal Mystery as if they were there physically—making a connection with the 2000-year-old scenario.

The dramatisations for the parish’s Holy Week come solely from the young people with some of them identifying with a character and event. Bethel noted however that they do not treat the theo-drama as a “show piece” but a process where they ‘re-live’ Christ’s life.

For this year, Fr Christo explained the same cast will be used for all the liturgies to remind the faithful that the Easter Triduum is one continuous celebration and should not be treated as separate events.

As the Triduum draws near both he and Bethel have seen how the young people have soaked in the Church’s teaching.

“I see their enthusiasm and they are always full of energy when they gather. They don’t want to leave!” remarked Bethel.

Adding to Bethel’s comment Fr Christo said, “What we display every week in communion is what the young people show during the Easter Triduum preparation. They are building community and bridging the gap by reliving the Paschal Mystery.”