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Turn to Jesus (Article)

15 Seminarians and 15 Kids Produce a Work of Art and Faith
Teamwork between theology students and 2nd to 4th graders results in a unique Stations of the Cross.

Front cover stations of the cross
The Stations of the Cross: a joint production of 15 theology students and 15 kids.

Download the Stations of the Cross here in whole page format or in a booklet format for print.

March 18, 2010. Thornwood, NY. It all began on Ash Wednesday, when Br Peter Huynh, LC, a first-year theology student, received a letter and pictures from a 3rd grade class in Decatur, Georgia. One of the teachers there, Mrs. Romana Khalaf, knew Br Peter and had invited her class to pray for him during the Year for Priests.

When Br Peter saw the pictures, he saw talent and possibility… and a chance to involve children in evangelizing their peers.

He and his 14 classmates in their first year of theology at Thornwood were planning to write up a Stations of the Cross booklet for Lent. But when Br Peter saw the illustrations, he realized that the book could be written for children, as a means of helping them relate more
Veronica station
The 6th Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, as illustrated by Sara (3rd grade).
easily to the mysteries of the Passion.

So, he invited them to participate in the Stations of the Cross project, extending the same invitation to children in two other Catholic schools. The response was immediate and enthusiastic.

As the children pulled out their crayons and got to work on their masterpieces, 15 theology students began composing reflections for each of the Stations of the Cross, translating their knowledge into terms that their intended readership of 2nd to 5th grade age children could understand.

Three weeks later, Br Peter had a pile of over 50 colorful drawings and a stack of 14 meditations, which he and two other brothers edited and compiled. The brothers decided to vote on the best drawings for each station, and the winning drawings accompany each of the 14 stations.

Br Peter didn’t want to leave anyone out, so all of the 2nd and 3rd place drawings were scanned and put together to form the cover of the book.

Through the eyes of a child

For Br Peter, the stations have a unique richness because they bring two worlds together: a class of theology students who are just a few years away from ordination (scheduled for Christmas 2012) and
Jesus falls station
The 7th Station: Jesus falls for the second time, as illustrated by Michael (3rd grade).
a group of children who express the faith in a direct and innocent way, through drawings.

“The brothers here are studying theology, so they are immersed in a lot of doctrine and spirituality in their classes. This project was a fruit of their studies, a chance to integrate and apply what they learned for an audience of young readers,” said Br Peter.

Meanwhile, the drawings were a chance for children to express the faith as they see it. One brother remarked that the drawings are almost “like an icon” because the children draw without prejudices or preconceived notions.

Br Peter also observed that the girls normally use a lot of colors, and tend to express more feelings and emotions. The boys, on the other hand, use darker colors and focus on action.

“In the seventh station (Jesus’ fall), the sky is all black with lightning and there is blood everywhere. That’s the male psychology there,” he noted with a smile.

“And that’s also the richness, that combination of profound faith, simplicity, and innocence. Children draw according to what they understand and believe, not according to what others think. They express it as they understand it,” he said.

A taste of the Stations

When it
tenth station
The 10th Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments, as illustrated by Dylon (2nd grade).
comes to prayer, adults can also use such a simple, direct, and heartfelt expression of the faith. Prayer does not have to be complicated. The language of love is a language that people of all ages, from childhood to old age, can understand.

Here is a sample reflection from the fourth station, when Jesus meets his mother:

Jesus is carrying the cross. He is walking in the midst of the crowd, the soldiers, the dust. He looks around, and all he sees are the angry faces of soldiers and the sad faces of women. There is no love. There is no hope. But suddenly he discovers a different face among the crowd, a beautiful face, a familiar face. It is the face of Mary, his Mother. Making eye contact with her is enough to strengthen him. Thanks to her, Jesus found the strength to keep
going on the path towards our redemption. It is in Mary where we can find the strength to be faithful to our Christian vocation in the midst of the world we live in.

My prayer to Mary:
Mary, thanks to you, Jesus found the strength to continue in a very tough moment of the way of the cross after his first fall. Help me to see your beautiful face, especially in the hard moments of my life when everything seems to be senseless and dark. I know that by simply making contact with your marvelous eyes, I can find the courage to be a faithful disciple of your beloved Son, Jesus. AMEN.



Related links web site
Mission Network
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and the Center for Family Development
Changing Hearts
Cancun-Chetumal Prelature
Helping Hands Medical Missions

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