03/29/2021, 16.39
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Young Tamils and Sinhalese take on the Way of the Cross to strengthen faith and unity

by Melani Manel Perera

In memory of Jesus on Calvary, youth made the long and demanding journey that separates Welimada’s parish church from the Keklis Estate. For Sister Grace, this is a way to share suffering and pain. The SUPATHA youth group includes initiatives for children, such as English and math classes.


Colombo (AsiaNews) – Young Tamils and Sinhalese working at a tea estate near Welimada parish marked the annual Way of the Cross yesterday by meditating on the suffering Jesus endured so as to strengthen their faith and unity.

Like Christ's climbing to Mount Calvary, the youths also undertook a long walk on the hard and rough road that separates Welimada’s parish church, in the diocese of Badulla, from the Keklis Estate (pictured).

Sister Grace Fernando, of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, noted that young people “wanted to leave the parish and experience freedom, while entering into a new spiritual dimension”.

The tea estate was not chosen at random, because it is far from the parish and reachable only through a long, winding, and challenging road.

For the nun, this was “A way to share at least in part the sufferings and pain Jesus experienced climbing Mount Calvary” on the day of his death on the cross.

Together with fellow Sister Shaneli and the parish priest, she expressed the satisfaction felt by the leaders of the local Church for the participation of a large number of young Sinhalese and Tamils from the SUPATHA (Holy Family) youth group.

“They meditated on Jesus’ betrayal,” she explained, “about the very unforgiving torture and humiliation he faced on his way to Calvary. Through Christ's sufferings, these kids were able to reflect on the daily problems they face at the tea estate where they work and live.”

In the first station, “we meditated on the crosses that we must bear in our own lives and those of others that we must make our own. Sometimes we become crosses for our parents, by behaving the wrong way.”

At the third station, they reflected on how to “bring others to their knees with our words and actions”, about when “we don't try to lift them up, but we keep them crushed to the ground where they fell.”

The young people built an altar for the celebration of mass with tree branches and other pieces of wood, a work, Sister Grace calls “beautiful”. The youths’ parents also got together and “cooked lunch for us”.

The SUPATHA youth group was set up recently and its members want to see it grow. Their journey began last year “after they received the sacrament of Confirmation”.

The youth group is designed to help young people developed relationships, and includes projects for children such as English and math classes. “At the end of the day, they attend mass and go home happy,” Sister Grace said.

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