Lupcho Bojkovski (left) and Declan Shiels pose with their handmade Crosses. Students in Grade 6 at St. Bridget Catholic School built each Cross by hand using clothespins. Photos courtesy St. Bridget Catholic School

Cross crafting open eyes to Christ’s sacrifice

  • March 29, 2024

Students at a Catholic school in Brooklin, Ont., have deepened their understanding of Holy Week through the process of crafting their own personal Crosses. 

The creative project took place inside the Grade 6 classroom at St. Bridget Catholic School through a collaboration with the school’s religious education consultants. The experience engaged the students by delving into the significance of the Crosses’ symbolism and importance while combining the lessons with a meaningful and hands-on activity.

“The students were able to connect and learn about the crucifixion, the crucifix itself and the Stations of the Cross,” said Amanda Lawrence, the Grade 6 teacher at St. Bridget. “They also had the opportunity to learn that the Cross serves as more than just a decoration. It becomes a personal reminder of the sacrifices made during Lent and the significance of Jesus’ journey to the Cross.”

To the students who participated, these lessons served as a touchstone for their ongoing spiritual journeys — giving them comfort, strength and guidance as Holy Week approached. 

The experimental learning delivery model allowed the students to put their knowledge into practice, as they began the task of crafting do-it-yourself Crosses for themselves out of clothespins. 

“The design for the Cross was simple but it was still beautiful,” said student leader Lupcho Bojkovski. “We took clothespins, broke them apart and separated the wood pieces from the metal pieces. Then we were given a paper Cross cut out as a template so we could line the pieces of wood and create a Cross either by using alternating sides as a pattern or keeping them the same as they were.” 

The initiative, while fun and playful in theory, did not lose the sense of solemnity that it set out to convey. Rather, building the Crosses served as visual representations of the student’s development of understanding the core principles of the Catholic faith. 

Bojkovski noted his own experience with the activity and how he was able to discern the important message that the Cross conveys. 

“As we were building the crucifixes, we were reminded that Jesus went through an overwhelming amount of suffering during the Stations of the Cross, just so we don’t have to bear the same,” he said.

“The connection I made throughout this teaching was that ‘Life is like a cycle.’ When you are at your highest, be prepared, because hardships and strong storms are yet to come, but when you are at your lowest, have hope and faith, for the light at the end of the tunnel is near. 

“The Stations of the Cross have a significant impact on our spiritual journey, and we learn that no matter what route you take in life, you must overcome your own obstacles. Jesus demonstrates this throughout the Stations of the Cross and the entire Bible,” he added. 

When paired with the ongoing lessons surrounding Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection on Easter, students were able to take away more than just a trinket from the experience. 

“The entire class put their absolute best into it and we felt more relaxed than challenged, but this was still an incredibly good lesson,” Bojkovski said. “We all learned the love Jesus cared for us and the sacrifices He overcame, and that He made those sacrifices just for the love He has for each and every one of us.” Lawrence spoke to the importance of nurturing the growing expressions of faith from her students through such classroom projects. 

“It’s always more meaningful for the students when you can actually, physically do something rather than just read and speak about something. This particular activity allowed them to understand the meaning behind the Cross, but also the role that it played in salvation, which helps their personal reflection and growth,” she said. “It gives us the ability to have compassion, forgiveness and selflessness that Jesus exemplified, so when we have sacraments and holy days like this it brings everything together for the kids. It’s not just bits and pieces of information, they’re actually able to connect it and create meaning out of it.”

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