Holy Week, Easter Triduum Celebrations (March 24-27, 2016) were held at The Lord’s Ranch. The participants came from Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Dubai, and Vasai. It was a unique Holy Week journey from the Cross to the Resurrection, savouring and relishing the mystery of the Compassionate Christ! Fr. Prashant Olalekar SJ was the main celebrant of the Triduum Liturgies.

Maundy Thursday: During the traditional Eucharistic services the ritual of Washing of the Feet was done in keeping with Pope Francis’s decree promulgated on January 6, 2016 to include women. Those participating in the ceremony, the decree says, should be representative of the entire community. The change, Francis wrote, is “an attempt to improve the method of implementation, to express the full meaning of the gesture performed by Jesus at the Last Supper, his gift of himself ‘to the end’ for the salvation of the world, his boundless charity.” At 8:00 pm we enjoyed the traditional Passover Agape Meal (roasted lamb, bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and grape juice) in prayerful silence.

Good Friday: The entire group voluntarily offered to fast and pray. At 11:00 am we had the Way of the Cross in the main chapel and in the evening we had the usual liturgical services.

Holy Saturday: 08:00 am Journey with the Mother of Compassion (Seven Sorrows). This year we invited 4 women and 3 men to share about their experiences of coping with sorrow. This was done to demonstrate that men too suffer like women when there is gender imbalance in the society.

 Labyrinth Meditation: The Labyrinth Garden, a pathway to healing, was inaugurated at 5:30 pm by Fr. Prashant. He led the entire group in a healing meditative walk. Healing can be a delicate endeavor, discovering and utilizing a space to be able to prayerfully reflect and recover. This landscape is designed to provide a quiet area for meditation and personal transformation. At the entrance to the labyrinth is a “Chalice Space,” which is the first stop on the healing journey. The meditator is helped to get ready to walk mindfully and surrender oneself to the hidden mystery of life and death. Natural elements of stones and green cactus remind us that life is peaceful, with a combination of roses and thorns. The cross at the center reminds each meditator that ultimately we journey with our cross together with Jesus. Quite a few gave testimonies of spiritual experiences while walking the Labyrinth. A couple of people felt a sense of healing.

Easter Vigil: 09:00 pm The Eucharistic Celebration of the Risen Lord was followed by a solemn Easter dinner.

Art of Anointing: This form of massage is a new initiative by Sr. Margaret Gonsalves SFCC. During the Triduum 20 people received an anointing massage with fragrant oils. Some shed tears for being loved by the healing touch. Others felt unburdened by the baggage of buried guilt and experienced a confession type of healing. Many recipients of this unique anointing shared on a deeper level and felt new hope for the future.

Testimony: “This place is so conducive for new and creative ventures like the Labyrinth Meditation Garden and Anointing Massage. Can more of these type of programmes be offered for the public throughout the year? I think the Catholic Church in India could do something creative to hold people back who are leaving the church. They are searching for a nourishing spirituality like what you people are doing at the Lord’s Ranch.” ~ a participant from Mumbai diocese

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