During this season of Advent as we await the birth of Christ, Fruits of Holy Cross takes a special look at Advent and Christmas celebrations in some of the schools sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Bangladesh and Ghana. We hope these unique celebrations that incorporate the cultures of their respective countries give you a flavor of our global community during this special time of year. We give thanks for your ongoing journey with us as we work to model Christ’s love for our neighbor.
Moreau Holy Cross School, Bhadun, Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, as in all geographic areas where the sisters minister, the school doors are open to students of many backgrounds who come from a variety of faith traditions including Islam, Hindu and Christianity. In order to be inclusive, the school programs during this time of year are designed to allow each student active participation and to feel welcome. Moreau Holy Cross School has an Advent program for its Christian students as they prepare for the Christmas celebration. This includes prayers and singing as a community to bring the liturgical season to life.
For all students, an end-of-year thanksgiving program, organized by both students and teachers, celebrates the end of classes and completion of annual examinations that take place in December. The event is lively and fun, with students and teachers playing games, sharing food and cutting a celebration cake. “The day offers us a community opportunity, where all faiths gather, to express thanks for the year God has provided and an appreciation of life shared together in pursuit of learning,” said Sister Jamuna Magdeline Gomes, CSC, headmistress of Moreau Holy Cross School.
Holy Cross School, Kulaura, Bangladesh
Similarly, Holy Cross School in Kulaura, Bangladesh, also has a diverse student body representing a number of faith traditions. The school has a formal presentation of the Christmas crib that is decorated with simple items, and stories about the nativity are shared. This project helps students reveal the humble way in which Christ came to us and his intimate closeness to the poor. An art competition is also held in which students make cards for loved ones and one another, allowing them to showcase their artistic talents.
Our Lady of Holy Cross School, Kasoa, Ghana
Each year in December, the community at Our Lady of Holy Cross School, Kasoa, Ghana, reflects on nine lessons and carols. These are celebrated through drama, music and choreography (dance) during a special one-day program. This year, the school plans to focus on the themes of “the place of the poor is sacred” and “a visit to the manger.” The goal is to inspire students to show respect, care and love to those who are less fortunate. The school hopes students can reflect on the form their love for neighbor might take and consider practical ways they might act on that love in the year ahead. Outside of the school, the Sisters of the Holy Cross residing in Kasoa organize a children’s party open to youth of all faiths in their neighborhood. This reflects the sisters’ value of hospitality as they seek to build community wherever they reside.
During this Christmas season, we wish to thank you for your prayers and gifts that enable the ministries of the Sisters of the Holy Cross to thrive. Programs like those described are a gift to our students around the world. Youth can celebrate Christmas in a multitude of ways that honor the cultural traditions of their locality and exercise creative energies at the same time. We wish you a Christmas season full of peace and blessings. We pray that you will also find ways to celebrate that express your faith and unite your community. We invite you to support our ministries this holiday with a gift to the Ministry With the Poor Fund. This fund enables projects throughout the year that benefit students most in need.