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The meaning of Easter

April 25, 2017
Father Dean Dowle, chaplain for Edmonton Catholic Schools, washes a student’s feet during a Liturgy of the Word ceremony at H.E. Beriault Junior High School in Edmonton.

On the ATA Facebook page we asked teachers to send us photos and summaries that depict how the meaning of Easter is conveyed in their classrooms and/or schools.

And … action!

In my class, groups of students studied a portion of the events, then they came up with a script and props and we put together a play!

- Ashley Kowalchuk, St. Justin Catholic School, Edmonton

Important time

As a public school teacher, I appreciate this post. I have many students for whom Easter is a meaningful time about the importance of suffering and sacrifice for others, and the power of forgiveness.

While teaching Macbeth with my Grade 11 students I had a couple of them ask me some very good questions about what Christians believe in regards to Good Friday and Easter. It is always wonderful when students ask questions — certainly allows us to trade different perspectives.

- Scott Raible, Eagle Butte High School, Dunmore

Traditional pysanky

My Grade 6 class wrote pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) in art prior to Easter. They were exceptional artists and really enjoyed themselves. They worked with a traditional kystka (stylus), melted beeswax and permanent dye to design their eggs.

- Crystal Wujcik, Wye Elementary School, Sherwood Park

Grade 6 students from Wye Elementary School create traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs.

Holy Thursday and Good Friday

As a Catholic school we take the development of our faith very seriously. Lent and Easter celebrations are integral to our Catholic identity. Students at H.E. Beriault Junior High School had the opportunity to participate in both a Holy Thursday celebration and the Good Friday Passion Play prior to going on the Way of the Cross walk before leaving for Easter break.

Students began in the gym with the Liturgy of the Word where Father Dean Dowle, our district chaplain, demonstrated how Jesus taught his disciples to live a life of service by washing their feet. As Father Dowle washed both students’ and teachers’ feet, he explained how we are called to be servants of Christ.

Students sat in awe as a group of drama students acted out the passion play. The ending that culminated in the loss of Jesus’ life helped students to realize that there is no greater sacrifice than to give one’s life for another.

The entire school then walked the Way of The Cross, listening to music and reflecting on the Stations of the Cross that they had been talking about. As each class proceeded throughout the school, the sombre music they were listening to reminded them of how Jesus died on the cross for our sins. They had prepared crosses, which they placed at the foot of the holy door in the courtyard before they passed through it and went off to celebrate Easter with their families.

- Barbara Brilz, H.E. Beriault Junior High School, Edmonton

Stations of the Cross

We participate in Stations of the Cross, where students go through each station and hear the scripture, and pray together. I’ve done it at the kindergarten/Grade 2 level, where we walked through the main hallway in the school and stopped at each station picture to read/pray/reflect. Now, at the high school level, we have the students present “living” stations, in whichever way their group has decided (short videos, skits, symbolic representations).

Students who are taking religion this semester created the presentations. They presented their version of each station to the rest of the school. We were spread out between the parish hall and the church, with the final station being in the church basement to symbolize the tomb. It was very well received. The students took it very seriously, and those who viewed the stations really enjoyed this approach.

- Leanne Johnson, École Notre Dame High School, Bonnyville

Students from École Notre Dame High School in Bonnyville present a “living” Station of the Cross for fellow students.

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