On Sunday, 9th of April 2017, St. Joseph’s Catechetical Ministry organized an Easter Junior Camp 2017 for children from Pre-school all the way up to Standard 3. This event was pre-planned many months before the big day. All the teachers worked tirelessly by having weekly meetings to ensure that the programme went on smoothly and to ensure that the little children were given maximum knowledge about the Season of Lent and Easter during the camp. The aim of this camp was to educate the young ones with the basic knowledge of the Holy Week, starting from Lent to Easter and ending at Ascension.
After the 9.00 am Mass, the children assembled in the Formation House and were given name tags and divided into groups. Each group had two teachers. Our trainee teacher Bernard Luvin led the opening prayer. It started with Ash Wednesday and an introduction of Lent by teacher Sharon. The points that were touched on were about Ash Wednesday. The children were taught about the meaning of the symbol of the Ash on the forehead. They were also taught about “What is Lent?”. A brief overview on what Lent was and how it can be related to the present age was given to the children. A short activity was carried out to get the kids involved. The children from Pre-school to Standard 1 were asked to cut and paste on a paper, things that they were willing to sacrifice during this Lent such as ice-cream and etc. The older kids were required to write it down.
Our trainee teacher Gregory took the children through Palm Sunday. The main topic covered was “What is Palm Sunday?”. The children were told about the meaning of the priest wearing red and why palms were used. Next the children were also told on why Jesus rode into the city on a donkey. The activity that they did for this session was folding the palm leaves into crosses. A short D.I.Y. video was played and the kids watched and followed with the help of the teachers.
The next session was by teachers Constance and Christine. They presented on Holy Thursday. The children were told the meaning of the whole celebration and the reason it was an important day in the Catholic Calendar. Teacher Bernard was chosen as Jesus and 12 other small boys were chosen by their respective teachers to act as the 12 disciples. A small role play was done to demonstrate the washing of the feet. Next the 12 chosen “boys” acted out the Last Supper. Each part of the last supper was explained to the children. Parts like the breaking of the bread were related to the current times where the priest holds up the bread to be broken representing the body of Christ and the offering of the wine representing the blood of Christ.
After the Holy Thursday session was the Good Friday session by teacher Assunta. Most of the teachers were chosen to act as the characters of the passion play. The children were then taken through the series of the 14 Stations of the Cross accompanied by their teacher. The children were then made to sit down and reflect upon their sins. They then put nails on a replica of Jesus as a sign of the many sins they had done and were willing to leave it on Jesus. They were given a crucifix each to remind them that Jesus Christ died for our sins.
After Good Friday session, the next session was Easter, which was presented by teacher Emily. The children were involved in a song and then they watched a resurrection cartoon video. The children were given awareness about the true meaning of Easter and that it was not all about Easter eggs or Easter Bunnies. They were also told about that Jesus appeared to many people after his resurrection, such as Mary Magdalene. They too were told about Jesus ascension after 40 days.
The whole camp was a great success as the children were able to gain some knowledge on the Holy Week and understand the true meaning of each celebration. Exposure at a young age to the truth is certainly very vital as they don’t grow up believing in the falseness of the religion. Although the teachers were indeed exhausted after a long day’s affair, it was certainly a very memorable event.
by Clare Anusha