Youth Pasch 2017: A Mountain-top Experience of Easter Joy  by Mani Lazar SDB
    Chennai, Apr. 20. 2017 For the 88 youngsters from the Salesian provinces of Chennai and Tiruchy who gathered at a camp site tucked away on Yellagiri Hills at an altitude of 3500 feet to celebrate ``Youth Pasch 2017`` from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday (13-16 April), it was an unforgettable mountain-top experience of spiritual rejuvenation and re-commitment to the Lord.
    The well-planned programme helped the participants to learn, relish and absorb the deeper biblical, liturgical and pastoral meaning of the solemn liturgy of those most important days in the Catholic year of worship—the days which recall the most important events in the life of Jesus, his passion, death and resurrection.
    The youngsters, divided into seven groups, displayed great earnestness and enthusiasm in taking part in every aspect of the four-day celebration. The group animators were Frs. Barnabas, Selvakumar, Parthiban and Sr. Mary Putti FMA. Fr. Antony Christy SDB explained the various aspects of the liturgy of the four days (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday) with great clarity and creativity, highlighting particularly the historical background and the liturgical and spiritual meaning of the various parts of the solemn services of the holy triduum.
    On Good Friday, Fr. Mani Lazar, the chief organizer of the Youth Pasch, took the youngsters on an inward journey with a well thought-out reflection on the ``last things`` and the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation, using the Ten Commandments as milestones along the journey. This helped the youngsters to approach the sacrament with great spiritual benefit. A team of priests were available for confessions and spiritual direction.
    The Way of the Cross on Good Friday was another memorable experience for the youngsters. It helped them to understand not only the meaning of the passion of Jesus but also to link it with their own sufferings and the sufferings of people everywhere. Holy Saturday was observed with sacred silence and quiet personal prayer.
    Finally the group welcomed the risen Lord with the Solemn Eucharistic celebration prepared and animated fully by the youngsters. During the Easter Eucharist, a catechumen, Mr. Stephen, received Baptism, and the other sacraments of initiation, namely, Holy Communion and Confirmation.
    At the end of the Youth Pasch, the youngsters sat together to evaluate the experience and recall and relish what it had done to them personally and as a group. Certain lines of action were drawn up as a help to prolong the experience of Easter joy throughout the year and be a leaven in the local Church and in society.

    Posted by KUMPILUVELIL Louis