Daniel reports on the two days that the members of the youth group Desert Flower spent in Deir Rafat in order to prepare for Easter on Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7, 2017.

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The members of the Desert Flower group met for their monthly meeting however this time the meeting was different from the preceding ones because it came after the children’s camp that had taken place for three days just before and most of the youth who participated had helped in the camp. For this reason the program was different and it began with cleaning up the place after the children had left. After that we had an hour to simply rest and gather up energy for the rest of the meeting.

After the time of rest, we had a meeting with Benny in order to brain storm about the new flag we want to design for the group. He explained to us the meaning of the various colors that could be used. There was a lively debate and much difference of opinion and we finally chose three possible designs that could be proposed to all the members of the group who will then choose the one they want. When we ended that, we had dinner together. The main part of the program began at 22.00 in the night.

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The Way of the Cross, 14 stations that we passed through in the grounds of the sanctuary, in the middle of the night, with a cross and torches that had been prepared by two of the youth from the group the day before. We marched in silence, each one carrying the cross in turn, passing from station to station. This march lasted three hours. During this time, we had the opportunity to think about the things that are difficult for us in our lives, having a time of silence, away from the noise of our daily existence, to organize our thoughts and of course to feel the suffering of Jesus and the weight of the cross he carried for us. This was our way to prepare for Holy Week, which begins next Sunday and to understand the great significance of the coming feast. We ended the stations at the gate to the sanctuary and there Father Piotr decided to conclude not in the sadness that is evoked by contemplating the passion and death of Jesus but rather on the continuation of the story that does not end with death but rather with his rising from the dead!!! This continues until today.

The next day, of course, we woke up a lot later than usual and as distinct from our other meetings we did not begin the day with morning prayer and breakfast but rather with mass celebrated at 10.00 in the morning. After mass, we ate breakfast and lunch as one meal. When we concluded the meal, we helped the sisters of the monastery to organize the place, to clean up and put everything in order. We ended the meeting in the early hours of the afternoon with another short meeting to discuss our future activities. We then bade one another farewell and returned to our homes.

For all of us this was a very special meeting, full of significance and we sensed that the atmosphere was very different on the morning after our night procession. There was an atmosphere of calm and tranquility in a special way.