Gizo (Solomon Islands). In the Solomon Islands – Mary Help of Christians Province of the Pacific Region (SPR) – the celebrations of the Easter Triduum and Holy Easter are characterized by sacred representations involving the entire population.
On Good Friday, the Passion of Christ is represented in every parish. In the capital Gizo, three weeks before Holy Week, the youth group of the parishes prepare the ‘living Via Crucis’. It starts from the Diocese’s House of Prayer on the hills behind the city, going along the streets with the 14 Stations of the Cross, towards the Cathedral.
Sr. Anna Maria Gervasoni, a missionary, recounts: “The departure is at six in the morning, and ends in the Cathedral around nine, when the sun is not yet too strong. There is always much participation, especially by children, who follow the path fascinated by Jesus carrying a large cross, shoved by the Roman soldiers. Along the way, there are crosses to indicate the Stations and, in that place, the scene is represented as in a picture, while a reader guides the faithful in reflection and prayer. In Gizo, the Passion of Christ is represented simultaneously in four different places, to allow a greater number of the faithful to participate and pray together”.
The Easter Vigil is the culmination of celebrations and representations. “Where possible, the Readings of the Old Testament are represented. In Gizo, it is tradition that the children of the catechesis, the group of men and mothers of the parish represent three of the seven passages of the Easter Vigil: the Creation, the sacrifice of Isaac, and the passage of the Red Sea. With simplicity and creativity, the presbytery of the Cathedral is transformed into a garden with real plants and fruits. The narrator retraces the seven days of Creation, while the children represent the animals. The arrival of Adam and Eve, a boy and a girl in traditional costume, is the manifestation of Man, the culmination of Creation, and prefigures the coming of Christ, obedient to the Cross”.
The scenes of the sacrifice of Isaac and the passage of the Red Sea are represented involving the faithful. “In the four years that I am in Gizo, the modality of the representations is the same and everyone rejoices. The Risen Lord is celebrated in joy!”.
In the Easter Vigil celebrated in the Cathedral of Gizo, the Bishop, Msgr. Luciano Capelli, a Salesian of Don Bosco, left the Easter message to the people in his homily: “the Human Being is the summit of Creation and, despite limitations, remains the most beautiful of creatures. Human life must be guarded, made to grow, and loved. The hope given by Christ’s victory over death must be the hope of seeing this Light in everyone’s life, a light that shines”.