Communal Easter Services: A Deepening of Faith and Relationship in the Workplace
The non-teaching staff of the Ateneo de Manila University recently conducted Communal Easter Services (CES) as part of the Easter celebration of the Ateneo community. With the spirit of Easter, workers were gathered together in their respective offices to examine their relationship with God and their fellow workers. The CES was conducted in each unit of the Ateneo with Jesuit Scholastics and Campus Ministers as facilitators. Among the units that conducted CES were the following: Ateneo Grade School, Ateneo High School, Loyola Schools, Central Administration, University Physical Plant, University Athletics Office, Rizal Library, the auxiliary units Ateneo Center for Psychological and Educational Assessment Services (ACESS) and University Press, and some offices of the Ateneo Professional Schools. The CES simultaneously ran from March 24 to April 30, 2008 in the different offices of the said units during which the non-teaching staff took time to leave their work for an hour or so to reflect upon their faith in God and their relationships in their workplaces.
The communal services were part of the continuing formation programs of the Office for Mission and Identity and Organizational Development. The concept was built on the gains of the Ignatian Spirituality in Education Workshop 3 (ISEW3) in which community was celebrated based on Blessed Peter Faber’s gift of caring spirit, St. Francis Xavier’s gift of passion, and St. Ignatius of Loyola’s gift of vision. These gifts are brought to the Ateneo community through the deepening of respect, hospitality, and conversation in the work environment.
The CES was a response to the positive feedback gained from the previous communal services and was meant to continue to foster communal reflection and prayer in the workplace.
The CES began with three pre-Easter sessions led by prayer leaders who volunteered for each office/unit. The sessions had Gospel readings and short reflection points to highlight the commemoration of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A one-hour culminating activity centered on the participants’ experiences of ‘resurrection’ shown through sharing of personal stories which made their life in the Ateneo inspiring and invigorating. As one community in prayer, each participant placed his/her petitions in Easter eggs which were passed around within their respective offices in Easter baskets for everyone’s prayer until the Feast of the Pentecost on May 11.