Hallelujah and Peace to Celebrate Easter Season

Resurrection mosaic

Because our faith formation program takes time off for Holy Week and Easter Week, the Second Week of Easter is the first time we meet after the Church has celebrated the Resurrection and the Alleluia has returned to Mass. I like to make a point of that for the young people in my group and start sessions after Easter by playing a recording of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” It grabs the attention of the young people and emphasizes that things are different now. By continuing the practice of playing the song throughout the season, the 50 days of Easter do not stop in my classroom.

After the song, I greet my students the same way Jesus greeted his disciples: by saying “Peace be with you.” We do a Scripture worksheet based on John 20:19–23 and explore this appearance of Christ to his friends and the emotions the disciples would have experienced.

Later in the session, we discuss the Emmaus story, using the art print for Finding God, Grade 7, Session 21, which features Dinah Roe Kendall’s Road to Emmaus, and we complete a Scripture worksheet based on the Gospel story from Luke 24:13–35. Not only is this story great for sharing a post-Resurrection appearance with the young people, it makes another connection to the Eucharist as central to our celebration of faith.

Because we’ve already talked about sharing peace, I take the opportunity to bring in another liturgical element and invite the young people to share a Sign of Peace. They happily get up to greet each other, and I am sure to participate too—we are all a part of the community, no matter our age or which school we attend.

We pray imaginatively by considering an encounter with the Risen Lord in our everyday lives and pray that, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, our eyes are opened to recognize Christ’s presence all around us.

Before this session, we last met the week before Holy Week and left class on a somber note. In contrast, the celebratory nature of this session, with the music and the sharing of peace, is intended to mirror the tone of the liturgies during the great Easter celebration. I send the young people home with a question to consider: What helps you become aware of God’s presence? We’ll see what they have to say after a week of trying to notice God present in all things.

How do you celebrate the 50 days of Easter with your group?

About Denise Gorss 115 Articles
Denise Gorss is a catechist with more than 20 years experience, mostly in junior high. She appreciates the gifts of Ignatian spirituality and likes sharing various types of prayer with the young people in her groups. She enjoys seeing the world on pilgrimages and lives in the Chicago area, where she works as Web Editor at Loyola Press.

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