For many students, Easter break is nothing more than a time to enjoy themselves. They forget the importance of Holy Week and Our Lord Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice to redeem us. However, university students who gathered for Holy Week at the TFP‘s national headquarters in Spring Grove, Penn. were determined not to forget this ultimate sacrifice with gratitude. The annual three-day program spanned Good Friday to Easter Sunday. It included meetings, meditations and ceremonies, providing an opportunity for like-minded students to reflect on the Passion and its meaning for us today.
The lectures centered around one theme: the Passion of Christ. One of the lectures, titled “Considerations on the Passion,” discussed the pitfalls of a “Hollywood” view of reality and life which exclude the idea of suffering or its value before the throne of God. “Equating life to pleasure creates a life full of illusions and depression,” said TFP speaker John Horvat. “This false notion of reality differs entirely with the Catholic conception of suffering. Our Lord commanded: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me'” (Matt. 16:24).
Sections from the book St. Peter the Apostle by William Thomas Walsh were read during meals and private meditation was encouraged throughout the retreat-like program.
On Good Friday, students recited the Way of the Cross, heard the Gospel of St. John sung to Gregorian Chant, and venerated a large crucifix. Easter vigil Mass was attended at the majestic neo-Gothic church of St. Alphonsus in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. On Easter Sunday participants tested their skills with a lively salvo of skeet shooting, prior to enjoying a wonderful lamb and ham dinner.
Paraphrasing Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, when a nation rewards its military heroes, it pins decorations to their chest – these medals are often cruciform. When Our Lady rewards her children, she places crosses on their shoulders. Participants came away better equipped to carry their own crosses, always trusting in the maternal gaze of Our Blessed Mother for new courage and strength.