Three communities of Daughters of Jesus share with us how they lived Holy Week at a time when we cannot celebrate in our churches.
Living Holy Week in spite of the difficulties of the present times
In Africa as elsewhere “Staying at home” has taught us to be closer and more present in the Lord to today’s reality.
With the majority of Christians isolated in their homes, we have supported each other in community and in our families in prayer and fraternal communion through the Eucharist on line and through mutual service.
This scourge that is ravaging the world makes us relive again and again the passion of Christ today. It pushes us to question ourselves and to review our lives: our sufficiency, our superiority, our pride. At the same time, as we journey with the Christ of Emmaus, we come to decipher the signs of his Resurrection: world solidarity, shared talents, creativity of all kinds, joy of life maintained, smiles and glances speaking among us, encouraging messages… As Daughters of Jesus, the modern means of communication are a true blessing, helping us to intensify our closeness, our communion with “this world that God loves”, the universal Church and our Sisters in the Congregation.
With Pope Francis we try to live the “contagion” of hope.
Srs Estelle Koffi and Patricia Pellerin fj
Palm Sunday without a procession
This year, there are no excited children on the square in front of the parish church, no recalcitrant donkey who always refuses to move as the procession begins. No, there I am in front of my computer following the Mass in Rome with Pope Francis and the strict minimum of faithful in an otherwise empty basilica. The cameraman does his best to bring out the beauty of the scene, but it is the intimacy of the close-up images that strike me the most – Pope Francis who needs an arm to lean on as he climbs the altar steps and his tired, careworn face. Without a crowd, everything speaks already of abandonment.
However, this notion of “abandonment” might just have something to say to me in the present situation. It could be asking me to abandon myself:
– to the immediate future, by accepting the invitation of our parish priest Guillaume, who has asked to learn to welcome “today” as it presents itself, while keeping on course.
– in the long term, by continuing to accept the invitation of Pope Francis to say yes to Love without any “ifs” and “buts”.
Sr Rhona, fj, Paris, France
Here, at the Magenta community in Rennes, the garden already in bloom allowed us to realize a very beautiful celebration on Palm Sunday in the middle of the flowers, in harmony with nature.
In fact, we gathered together in the garden, where those responsible for the liturgy had prepared a visual aid in the form of an icon of Christ, placed on a beautiful table. After the reading of the Gospel, we went in procession to our little chapel where we continued the celebration.
We also had the joy and privilege of having a celebration of the Easter Vigil in community, with the possibility of taking communion. At the beginning of this time of prayer, we lit a candle to symbolize the Easter candle. Then, during the celebration, nine small night light were lit to represent each one of us in the community. This time of prayer was punctuated by songs accompanied on the guitar by Sister Agnes. At the end of the celebration, Sr. Anne, our Provincial gave each one a card with a beautiful prayer. I share with you an excerpt:
“In the early morning, the day dawns … Already at the tomb there is nothing more to see. Death could not hold in its nets the beauty of the man, the beauty of God … No living thing can be seized. He stands free. Free, he calls. What we see is the Good News that runs through the earth like fire”.
Sr Agnès, fj, Rennes, France