Saturday, April 12, 2014
On Vrbica (Saturday, April 12), the Holy Resurrection Cathedral of Chicago hosted its 5th annual Vrbica children’s retreat. Around 90 children attended this event, which promoted both religion and fellowship among Serbian Orthodox youth.
The day started with a prayer, where all children beautifully recited Oce Nas from memory. Then, participants were separated into age groups and commenced the activities of the day. First, children received religious instruction by all three of our cathedral clergy. Their talks focused on the resurrection of Lazarus and the importance this lesson and why we celebrate Lazarus Saturday.
After religion, it was arts and crafts time, where participants created a rendition of Golgotha and the empty tomb of Christ. Wheat was planted, so that by the time of Pascha, it will grow and symbolize the new life that Christ brings to us.
The educational portion of the retreat concluded with a music lesson by Popadija Jelena Vranic. Popadija taught the children to sing responses for the Vespers service and also the troparion of Lazarus Saturday. Immediately after music class, the children proceeded to church for the Vrbica vespers and procession around the church. Children carried their palms and pussy willows around our Cathedral while ringing their bells and singing the troparion they had just learned. It was a beautiful sight and we are very blessed to have so many youth in our parish.
The retreat ended with a potluck dinner where parents and their children were able to continue the fellowship.
Special recognition is deserved by retreat leaders Popadija Jelena Vranic and Zora Voynovich, in addition to all the clergy, teachers, group leaders, and parents for their support with this wonderful project.