Easter Celebrations A Time for Joy and Reflection 

Easter Celebrations A Time for Joy and Reflection 

As they do in the days leading to Easter Sunday every year, Mercy Home’s young people and coworkers gathered to celebrate and reflect on the meaning of this most holy time. What was a little different this year was that Holy Week fell at the end of Women’s History Month, offering our kids a unique opportunity to learn more about the women of the Paschal Triduum, particularly Jesus’ mother Mary.  

Marc Velasquez, Mercy Home’s director of milieu training and cultural-spiritual engagement opened the celebrations at both our boys and girls’ homes by introducing a video in which our kids reflected on women who have made a difference in their lives. 

“I wanted to honor Women’s History Month and honor Mary as a pillar of faith and trust and patience,” said Velasquez. “She exemplifies all those things, so I asked you to think of people in your life [who do that],” he told the young people assembled.   

Following the video, Fr. Scott reflected on the disciplines of Lent, which include prayer, fasting, and acts of service.   

“What I really love about [acts of service] is that [they make us] go outside of ourselves to enhance and make better the lives of others,” he said. “And certainly, we do that in many different ways throughout the year here at Mercy Home.” 

After sharing the Easter story, Fr. Scott then spoke about the Virgin Mary—the way she accepted the awesome responsibility to be the mother of the Son of God, faithfully loving and nurturing Jesus throughout his life and ministry and weeping in agony at the foot of the cross as her beloved Son suffered the Crucifixion.  

“She had a difficult life, but she was faithful, and she was patient,” he said, describing the many things that were asked of Mary throughout the Gospels.  

Fr. Scott also talked about St. Veronica as depicted in the Sixth Station of the Cross. He said Veronica was a courageous and compassionate woman who used her veil to wipe the face of Jesus as he carried the cross to the site of his crucifixion.  

“Amid the jostling and the shouting of the onlookers and the intimidating Roman soldiers marching Jesus to his execution,” he said, “Veronica had the courage to step out and face all that was going on to show compassion and care,” he said. “Veronica risks her own safety, breaking free from the mob to ease the sufferings of another.”  

What I really love about [acts of service] is that [they make us] go outside of ourselves to enhance and make better the lives of others. And certainly, we do that in many different ways throughout the year here at Mercy Home.

– Fr. Scott Donahue

Tradition holds that the image of Jesus’s bloodied face was left on the veil. “The very image profoundly demonstrates the sufferings of Christ for our waywardness,” Fr. Scott said. 

Fr. Scott noted that when Jesus was crucified, he was abandoned by men but the women, such as Mary, his mother, and Mary Magdalene, stayed with him until his death.  

He read a passage from St. John’s Gospel recounting Mary Magdalene’s early morning arrival at the tomb, only to find that the stone had had been rolled away from the entrance.  Later at the tomb, she sees Jesus who tells Mary to tell the disciples the good news of the Risen Lord. 

“I thought it was brilliant as we celebrate Women’s History Month this month, to focus on some of the great women in our Christian tradition,” Fr. Scott said. “These three good and holy women are tremendous examples as to how we are to live our faith as disciples of the Risen Lord.”    

After Fr. Scott’s reflection, everyone enjoyed a delicious meal of ham, potatoes, veggies, rolls, and dessert.

Our young women then participated in another special tradition—the Easter egg hunt. Colorful eggs packed with goodies were scattered across the front lawn of our girls home. Our young people hurriedly collected their prizes, and six were especially lucky, having found the coveted golden eggs that could be traded in for a gift card. 

On Saturday, dozens of our Community Care members and their families gathered at the Home for that program’s annual Easter Egg Hunt. Guests, which included former residents and their families as well as kids participating in our Friends First mentoring program, enjoyed a day filled with fun, food, giveaways, and of course, an egg hunt for the little ones. 

Our very special guest, the Easter Bunny, took photos with the kids and gave out hugs and high fives to attendees. Everyone enjoyed a delicious pizza lunch and time to catch up with friends new and old. Then it was time for the main event  

Our Community Care program provides former residents with a variety of resources they need to be successful. Events like the Easter Egg Hunt give our former residents the opportunity to remain connected with an extended and supportive Mercy Home family. 

At each of these events, our kids received Easter baskets, which were generously donated by Fill a Heart for Kids in Lake Forest, IL. Fill a Heart for Kids provides a wide variety of care and support for homeless, at-risk and foster children, including holiday care packages for youth in group facilities to help them feel loved and remembered. 

Discover More

Home Updates
9 minute read

It Takes a Village

Woman’s love for her children led her to Mercy Home’s Friends First program Mercy Home is more than just an...

May 8, 2024