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Good Friday observed with re-enactment of crucifixion

Good Friday observed with re-enactment of crucifixion

KARACHI: The re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday, or ‘Pak Juma’, is a heart-wrenching experience that most parishes of the city opt out of but not the St Anthony’s Church. Both the Urdu service at 12noon and the English service at 3pm at the church on Friday saw young actors playing the crucifixion scene ahead of the prayers. The church prides itself in involving young people while giving lessons of goodness.

The actors went around the church to stop at 14 different stations accompanied by scripture readings explaining the final moments of Christ’s life and their relevance in today’s world.

The church was jam-packed even though there were no church bells or candles, it being a day of mourning. Since fasting is mandatory for those between the ages of 16 and 60 years on Good Friday, most Catholics were fasting even though they might have missed some days during the holy month of Lent. To make up for that, there were those collections going around so that the money can then be used for helping the poor for which the church has a proper committee working. “Of course, those who are unwell or too old are not expected to fast,” explained Father Arthur Charles, assistant priest at the parish.

Well-versed in several languages including Italian, Father Charles was approached by several people after the Urdu service that he conducted. An elderly woman wanted him to pray for her diabetes to come under control and the priest smiled and reminded her to take her medicines on time, too. A young couple approached him with the news that they had just recently gotten married and he blessed them and prayed for them. Some brought to him bottles of water and oil to bless.

“The significance of Good Friday is its prime message that evil cannot prevail. It was to be defeated. And death is not the final word as there is life hereafter,” Father Charles explained. “Of course, sin cannot be defeated by sin. Only someone sinless, like Jesus Christ, can overcome sin. That is what Christ told his disciples, too, before his crucifixion that he was going to triumph over sin through suffering and death. He purified the world with his blood,” he added.

“The month of Lent and Good Friday is a time to meditate and reflect on one’s actions,” Father Edward Joseph, the parish priest, also explained. “It is also for us to understand the importance of the cross,” he said.

The cross, that is kept covered for two weeks ahead of Good Friday, was also unveiled during service after the re-enactment and scripture readings. This followed by hymns sung by the parish choir and the holding of the communion.

Hot cross buns

Marking the end of Lent, some bakeries specially prepare hot cross buns, which are enjoyed by everyone, no matter what their religion. It is just a simple bun with raisins or currants, spiced with cinnamon and with two strips of marzipan crisscrossing each other on the top. Two bakeries in Karachi have become very popular for their hot cross buns, which they are constantly running out of throughout the day until a fresh lot can be baked. Of course, in Christian homes even children know how to make hot cross buns. “Only the most lazy among us head for the bakeries, the rest make them at home,” said a Christian lady getting two dozen hot cross buns parcelled at one of the bakeries to take back home with her soon after attending service at the church.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2016

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