by Moira Cullings
If your family is anything like mine, you’re having a bit of trouble letting go of the Easter egg hunt tradition. Our youngest cousin is now 16 years old, but all of us “kids” are still encouraged to participate in the annual family event.
In grade school, the hunt was a pretty competitive activity that we cherished. It’s really the only Holy Week activity I can remember.
But these days, there are countless other Holy Week opportunities for kids that can be discovered with the simple click of a mouse. Online resources make holidays like Easter even more enjoyable, not only for families but also for Catholic schools.
This past Holy Thursday, I was able to watch St. Paul Catholic School in Olathe take advantage of some of those resources. And the students did something I had never seen before.
That morning, they shared a “Passion Meal” in the gym, and following that, they gathered in the church to watch the sixth grade class act out a living Stations of the Cross.
If you follow us on Facebook, you might have seen the photos of the school’s Holy Thursday events, which were carried out in a way that was truly amazing for kids so young.
The Passion meal consisted of foods that represented Jesus’ Passion and death. I watched as the kids quietly passed each food item down the table, listening attentively to their principal, Tonia Helm, who read Scripture passages while they ate.
Students of all different ages sat at each table, which allowed the kids to spend time with schoolmates they normally wouldn’t ever talk to.
That Passion meal was not only a unique experience for those kids, but it helped them understand Holy Thursday in a tangible manner.
It seems like in today’s world, it’s hard for kids to get excited about something like painting Easter eggs when they have an array of technology to keep them constantly entertained.
Experiencing something like this meal, which was a hands-on, social way of learning, seems like it was a really incredible opportunity for those kids.
The sixth grade presentation of the Stations of the Cross was just as inspirational. It was really beautiful to see kids who are at such a formative stage in their lives represent the suffering Jesus went through.
I could tell that those who participated took their roles very seriously. And to watch the rest of the school look on in awe, seeing so clearly what happened to Jesus, was really moving.
I think for them to witness what Christ went through in the form of one of their peers also put the Passion into perspective. That boy was someone they loved, someone they cared about, and they got a taste of what it was like to have compassion for someone who was suffering.
I imagine they were able to make that connection with Jesus himself, and hopefully they grew in a better understanding of his love for them.
At the end of it all, the staff members and parents had nothing but praise for the activities. They were also grateful for the resources that allowed the events to happen, in particular Catholic Icing, a site run by a Catholic author and crafter that offers a plethora of seasonal and sacramental activities for kids.
Throughout this Holy Week, I realized it’s experiences like those Holy Thursday activities and schools like St. Paul that make growing up with a Catholic education such a blessing.