Catholic Children Celebrate the
Way of the Cross without priests or teachersEach Friday during Lent, the pupils of Uchchamunai Island's
primary school (Western Province) re-enact the Via Crucis. They do it on their
own because they do not have permanent teachers. Local residents are all Tamil
Catholics and Mass is held only once a month.تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
Children at a government primary school in Uchchamunai Island (Western Province)
regularly stage by themselves a Via Crucis during the period of Lent. They have
done it without the help of teachers or priests. Wearing their school uniforms,
the pupils leave their school and go as far as Annai Velankanni Catholic Church,
which is part of Kalpititya Parish (diocese of Chilaw).
Uchchamunai Island is home to about 175 Tamil
Catholic families, all involved in the fishing industry. Because of its
remoteness, there is only one Mass a month and the children cannot get a
religious education in school or on Sundays. Once a while, a nun from the Order
of the Holy Family comes to impart a bit of catechism.
Over the years, neglect has come with a price for
the 90 or so pupils in the small primary school, all grades included. The five
teachers that are supposed to teach at the school cannot always get to the
island. In fact, it takes them two hours by boat from Kalpititya, when boats are
available, which is not always the case.
In order that children do not feel neglected, the
school principal decided to use the situation constructively. He asked the older
pupils to stage a Via Crucis involving the younger ones. Kids, 11 and 12, lead
the way for the 5 and 6 year olds, with everyone reciting and praying in
"We like to remember each year the Passion of
Jesus Christ," said one student who will graduate this year, "because it helps
us keep us on the right path." For another pupil, a girl, it is important "to
involve our smaller comrades so that they can learn the value of this