Article written by Vania Arulmathi
The Church of the Divine Mercy was lit in warm candlelight as 190 youths from all around came together in a night of prayer and worship, to experience a more personal encounter with the passion of Christ.
Father Michel, Assistant Parish Priest of CDM, expressed his and Fr Alan’s desire of “rewriting the journey up to Mount Calvary by connecting the youths’ lives to the Way of The Cross”. He adds that youths may struggle to connect to conventional Way of the Cross prayers and that this revitalisation is a way to address that. Recognising the unique struggles and hardship faced by young people in the reality of their daily lives, Fr Michel was set to enable the youths to truly embrace prayer and find rest in the Spirit.
Registrations for the youths to participate in the event had begun several weeks ahead of the date. Youths from neighboring parishes such as Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Thomas More were also present for this event, as well as students from CDM’s Sunday school, and Catholic Varsity Students (CVS).
The event started at 8 pm, with an opening prayer led by Fr Michel. Moving forward to the Way of the Cross, a brief yet thought-provoking reflection, which ties the lives of the youths to the salvation of the Cross was shared. Usually, each station is accompanied by an Our father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be. However, during this Way of the Cross, a hymn that was specifically chosen for each station was sung. The combination of reflections that the youths could relate to, and affirming songs of worship enabled the young people to fully participate in this one-of-a-kind journey, towards self-acceptance and forgiveness.
Wrapping up the final station with the Hymn ‘Goodness of God’- which happens to be the theme song for last year’s Youth Camp – there was a strong sense of oneness and compassion in the atmosphere as the youths gathered for dinner and a mamak themed fellowship.
Previously, CDM had showcased a moving production of the Passion Play for the Lenten season of 2022. The youths had also partaken in various other Lenten events, which were organized by the church in the pre-pandemic years.
Thanks to the young and spirited Priests who work closely with the youths, this year the youths were able to participate in a Lenten event that was organized especially for them. Ultimately, this Way of the Cross served to be a ‘Welcome Home’ for the young people who are finally able to be a part of the church once again, post-pandemic.
“I think it was done with good simplicity and it was easy for us youths to relate to the way of the cross to our daily lives, be it school, college, or even working life; it not only brought together youths but did it in a way that puts Jesus in the center of it all” was what Ronald, a participant had shared after the event.
Adrienne, who was also a participant said that she loved how each prayer felt personal which makes it even more meaningful for her. “Especially with everyone praying together, I felt that praying isn’t actually as tough as I thought it would be”, she explained.
Several other youths who were present that night also shared how having this Way of the Cross, right before the holy week begins, was helpful for them to fully embrace this season of Lent and to recognize their identity in Christ. One student from CVS in particular had attended the event not knowing if she should join the Catholic faith. After the final hymn was sung, this student had spoken to the KUBM Pastoral Worker to confirm her admission into the RCIA journey!
At the end of the night, youths were seen sharing their goodbyes and parting ways with a new-found love for the community and a faith that had been strengthened by their participation in the Way of the Cross.
The CDM Youth Ministry would like to thank all the participants for being a part of this wonderful Journey. Special thanks to the parents of the youths below the age of 18, for allowing them to join us and be a part of this community. Last but not least, kudos and thanks to Father Alan and Father Michel for their conscientious effort in putting together this meaningful event.
Heads up to the young people: Keep an eye out for our upcoming event in the next few weeks! See you then, God Bless