Schools come together to follow the Stations of the Cross
EVOCATIVE and profound, the Stations of the Cross are a powerful way of contemplating Jesus' final hours before his crucifixion.
Echoing the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem and Jesus' route to Mount Calvary, the stations take on added significance during Lent and, in particular, on Good Friday.
The Stations of the Cross were the focus of pupils and staff from six north Belfast schools, when they gathered in Holy Family church on the Limestone Road with the simple aim of coming together as a family of Catholic schools to pray before Easter and keep the well-established tradition alive.
St Malachy's College, Little Flower Girls' School, St Patrick's College, Dominican College, Fortwilliam, Holy Family Primary School and St Patrick's Primary School took part in the initiative which grew out of some thinking by staff at St Malachy's.
"A group of staff in St Malachy's College have spent the last year reflecting on and articulating what our Catholic ethos looks like in the 21st century," explained Brendan Dowd, an RE teacher at the school who is also studying for the permanent diaconate.
"This dovetailed with a diocesan educational initiative in Down and Connor for all Catholic schools to do the same.
"I felt it would be good for schools in north Belfast to do some faith development together."
Pupils led the service, as they prayed and sang together - and considered Jesus' sacrifice at Calvary.
A poem for the Fifteenth Station
The Resurrection on Easter Morning
In the rising sun
of Easter morning
the stone that sealed
the body in
is lying to one side.
The women enter,
the empty tomb.
“He is not here.
He is risen.
Why look among the dead
for someone who is alive?”
They hurry into the future
to announce life
through and beyond Calvary,
Fr Martin Kelly