04/05/2006, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Young people experiencing "Christ's Way of the Cross" during Lent

by Qaiser Felix
Catholic students from the diocese of Faisalabad organise a series of activities for Lent to better reflect upon the Word of God and the Passion of Christ and promote peace everywhere.

Toba Tek Singh (AsiaNews) – For young Catholics in Toba Tek Singh, Lent is a time to renew one's spiritual lives by experiencing the pains Jesus Christ endured for us and to better understand the "true meaning of his death" by "transforming themselves, united in the desire to be like Christ's disciples", this according to Ashfaq Masih, principal of St Peter's High School in the diocese of Faisalabad who spoke to AsiaNews about his students' Lent activities.

"The school that I run is part of the parish of the Immaculate Conception," he explained. "We have a group of young Christian students here who, on the occasion of Lent, felt the need to promote the Gospel amongst their fellow students. Hence, they decided to organise a daily Bible reflection. Its goal was to give students and teachers a chance to read the Bible, reflect on Jesus' sufferings and share the Word of God in light of everyday life," he said.

"The kids understand that young Catholics go to church once a week for an hour but do not fully reflect upon the Word of God," he noted. "And so, starting on Ash Wednesday, they have met every day."

Moreover, "they felt it was not right that more than 70 per cent of all Catholic students didn't have a personal Bible and so they thought of saving some money. Now everyone has his own Bible."

The young people have set up a well-structured schedule for Lent activities. In addition to sessions of reflection, they decided to test themselves to see how much they knew the Bible; they are also preparing a big poster showing Christ crucified to exhibit on Good Friday and are writing hymns. They are also planning to take all this to other Christian schools in the area.

"On April 1, they organised a quiz on the Gospel according to Saint Luke with some 90 students taking part," Principal Masih said. "Kids from St Peter's Primary school and those from Holy Mary won; for the first time ever two teams jointly won first place. They really knew their stuff, which goes to show how much they studied Christ on the Way of the Cross."

"A nine-year-old girl won the hymns competition—her singing was incredible," he added. "And some 47 boys and girls worked on the poster of Christ crucified. Altogether what the students did was far superior to what we expected."

"I saw these kids change," he explained. "Now they are more reflective and live mass differently, with more joy. What counts is that they can share with their mostly illiterate parents and relatives what they learnt."

At the end of the last meeting the kids signed a common statement which said that "the Gospel can be promoted everywhere and peace, as John Paul II taught us, is possible if we teach it".

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