When the day of the feast of Unleavened Bread arrived, the day for sacrificing the Passover lamb, he sent out Peter and John, instructing them, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to make the preparations?” Luke 22:7-9
In this time when atria sessions, catechist formation, and even liturgical gatherings are being cancelled out of the need to social distance to fight the coronavirus pandemic, we ask how will we live Easter, this holiest time of year? How and where should we prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection this year?
A thoughtful gift of encouragement for catechists of the Good Shpherd recently came from CGS leaders in Rome, Francesca and Patrizia Cocchini, who sent what is called in Italian, a Foglietto or a little letter. Certainly we are aware that the coronavirus has been particularly devastating for those in Italy and so both Francesca and Patrizia have pondered the same questions we are also considering as we look to Easter.
Francesca and Patrizia both spent many years as older children, adolescents, and adults with Gianna Gobbi and Sofia Cavalletti in the atria of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Their mother, Tilde Cocchini, was a close friend of Sofia and Gianna and one of their first colleagues in their work with children.
Ann Garrido, a catechist and formation leader for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd shares her reflections as she ponders the question found in the passage from the Gospel of Luke 28:1-8 that Peter and John asked Jesus before the Last Supper, “How do you want us to prepare?” It is a question Christians around the world are asking as we seek to celebrate the Triduum – the holy days of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus.
Francesca Cocchini writes:
“This year will be the first time since the Lord celebrated his Easter, that so many of his people—we can say almost all his churches—will not be able to make it the memorial! And immediately what comes to mind for me is that question that all three Synoptic Gospels report: “Lord, where / how [pou in Greek means both things] do you want us to prepare …?”. Alas, it will be the first time, after two thousand years, that this question will be our question, and I have asked Him to show each of us and all of us and all the churches, where and how we should celebrate. Now we must have the patience to wait. We just have to start asking Him, but He will be the one to tell us, to tell everyone. Truly the story will not end without each of his words being fulfilled (cf. Mt 5:18). This year, for the first time, the Churches are invited to ask the question: “Lord, where do you want us to prepare…?”
Ann Garrido is associate professor of homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO and founding director of the school’s Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies program with an emphasis on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (MAPS-CGS). She has served as a catechist with children ages 3-12 since 1996. Ann is also a formation leader with the U.S Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for twenty-one years and a member of the association’s formation committee. She is the author of eight books, including Mustard Seed Preaching (LTP, 2003) and A Year with Sofia Cavalletti (LTP, 2017).