Rolando MacDonald (centre left), a Grade 12 student at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School, in rehearsal as Jesus for the school’s Stations of the Cross celebration. Photo from Pamela Trower

Students bring Easter message to younger peers

  • March 27, 2024

Twelfth graders at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School inspired younger students at the Toronto school to prepare their hearts and minds for celebrating Easter.

Under the guidance of Pamela Trower, the school’s chaplain and student council moderator, Ogie Uwagboe, the student council president, promoted Lenten almsgiving by organizing hot chocolate, samosa and Civvies Day (casual clothes) fundraisers that are expected to raise over $1,000. The dividends will go to the social service agencies supported by ShareLife, the charitable fundraising arm of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Meanwhile, Rolando MacDonald portrayed Jesus Christ in the school’s Stations of the Cross on Holy Thursday. This role required him to collaborate with all Grade 9-12 religion classes. Each class was entrusted to deliver a unique three-minute multimedia presentation for the station assigned to them.

“For example, a group of my Grade 12 students who are into film are doing a dramatization of Jesus’ trial,” said Trower. “The only person in every single station is Rolando. Most of it sticks to the script of the Stations of the Cross, but there are some modern interpretations with spoken word, music, liturgical dance and film. We have a variety (of presentation styles).”

MacDonald said being charged with the vital responsibility of portraying Jesus has enlivened his faith.

“It is a great honour,” said MacDonald. “I’m not just participating in a drama project, but I’m actually incorporating it into my personal religious life. I’m actually feeling it in my heart. I am better at understanding what He went through. I did the research into the actual Stations of the Cross, and it was excruciating. Just imagining it was really touching.

“We’re called to pick up our crosses on a daily basis,” continued MacDonald. “Sometimes it is nice just to step back and realize that our cross is not that bad compared to Jesus’. I would gladly pick up my cross. I had that epiphany when comparing my struggles to His.”

Both Uwagboe and MacDonald said they recognize if they model passionate and effective leadership to their younger peers now, particularly for the Grade 9 class, they will step up when their time to lead comes.

“This is our last year,” said Uwagboe. “Obviously, we want to leave with a bang. We want to impact the younger grades so they can follow in our footsteps. If they see us do all these good things and initiatives for Easter, and taking part in our activities involving charity, they will think, ‘if they can do it, I can do it too.’ ”

MacDonald said it would be great “if when they get up to our positions, they can even do better than us and can form the community to be better and stronger overall.”

Trower commended Uwagboe and MacDonald for being natural leaders as they are always “looking at different social justice issues in the school community, the local area and the global community. Depending on what their passion is, they want to see a change.”

Principal Francesco Malfitano also applauded Uwagboe, MacDonald and their peers’ leadership. He added that it is essential to remember that Catholic values are at the heart of every enterprise at Father Henry Carr.

“These (initiatives) really continue to show that Catholicity remains the foundation of Father Henry Carr and the Toronto Catholic District School Board,” Malfitano said. “It is at the forefront of everything we do. It is the central pillar. Having students involved as leaders in Catholic-focused activities continues to uphold our strong connection to Catholicity.”

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