Light to the Nations brings light of Christ

Light to the Nations was this year held from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday at Mt Carmel Retreat Centre in Varroville. Photo: Supplied

Since the age of eight, Rachel Gauci has spent Easter camping under open skies at the Light to the Nations pilgrimage.

This year she arrived at the grounds of Mt Carmel retreat centre in Varroville to celebrate the Easter Triduum for the first time with her husband, Matt, and three-year-old son, Luke.

“Every single time I go I love it and get something new out of it,” she said.

Her 10th Light to the Nations was no different. Rachel was one of 1000 people who attended this four-day retreat from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, filled with prayer, worship, liturgy, music, and testimonies for participants from across the country.

“When you are at home for Holy Week masses and services, the time in between those moments at church can be distracting,” she said.

“Being in the same location for the weekend means everyone is focused on the same thing—the passion, death and resurrection of God.

“You keep the momentum going across the weekend and everyone is happy and excited to be there.”

The Light to the Nations event, held on average every two years by the Disciples of Jesus lay group and the Missionaries of God’s Love, sees participants camp together outdoors during the holiest week of the year.

For 30 years, young people, families and church groups have worked together alongside priests, brothers, and sisters to host Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday passion play, Easter Vigil and Mass for participants to immerse themselves in.

“I grew up a cradle Catholic going to these events,” Rachel told The Catholic Weekly.

“As a child, it was an important witness to faith and was very formative.

“That’s how I want to bring up my son—in those same environments where he can grow and deepen in faith and ask the right questions.”

Leader of the Disciples of Jesus community and director of the Light to the Nations, Peter Mullins, said the vision of the event is to bring young people together through pilgrimage.

“The pilgrimage experience is rooted in the tradition of the Catholic Church,” he said.

“The Easter Triduum is almost like one liturgy from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday. Through the retreat, you take yourself out of the world, out of your day-to-day life and experience Christ with other people.

“By celebrating the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord, the community encounters the person that is Jesus, which is a lifechanging experience.”

Member of the Disciples of Jesus and organising member of the event Selina Hasham said it was amazing to see the community gathered together to form a “tent city” in the retreat centre.

“It’s an entrance into and deep encounter with the holy spirit,” she said.

“We open up the paschal mystery and live it for four days. The transformation of people’s lives is what the mystery of Easter is all about.”

“Being together to witness Christ give his life, conquer sin and death and rise from the dead so that we would have life brings to this community … a renewed vision and call to live radically and faithfully.”

The post Light to the Nations brings light of Christ appeared first on The Catholic Weekly.

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