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Students gather to celebrate their Christian and Jewish heritage
chu slt seder
Wine glasses are raised before the drinking of the first cup of wine (sparkling grape juice). Pictured are: Raechel Manley, Marc Waite, Gavin Vink, Mary Waite, Sean ONeill, Fr. John Forkuoh, Macy Menges, Cody Wondra, Betsy Snell, Mary Beth Thill, Rachel Doll, Lauren Manley, Victoria Manley, Eric Jones, Kayanna Hammeke, Joanna Strecker, Katelyn Reh, and Jace Schwager. Not pictured: Mel Waite. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

ELLINWOOD — St. Joseph High School Parish School of Religion (PSR) students, Fr. John Forkuoh, PSR sponsors Raechel Manley and Sean O’Neill, and guests held a traditional Seder meal, otherwise know as a Passover meal, on March 1 at St. Joseph Rectory in Ellinwood.  
The Seder meal is typically held on Holy Thursday, the Thursday prior to Easter Sunday, and serves as a remembrance of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt and of the Christian Last Supper.  Due to time constraints and the desire to educate students so they could replicate the meal with their families, the meal was celebrated early, after Sunday morning Mass during their standard PSR class time.  
“It is important for our youth to understand their heritage, and a Seder meal is one more example of how we can share that with them,” said Mary Waite, mother of a PSR student.
The group followed the Passover meal script from Paulist Press. They ate the traditional matzah (unleavened bread), maror (bitter herb), karpas (green vegetable salad), charoset (apple salad mixture), beitzah (hard boiled egg), pesach (lamb), and wine (sparkling grape juice was substituted), all symbolic of the Exodus story.
“I had never tried lamb before, it’s not bad!” said one student.
As they followed the script, the group told the story of their ancestors, bringing to life the symbolism within the Catholic Mass celebrated weekly and Holy Thursday Mass which is celebrated yearly.
“I’ll never look at Holy Thursday the same way again,” said Joanna Strecker.
PSR sponsor Manley prepared the lamb and matzot (plural of matzah) and students’ families provided the additional side dishes and drinks.
“They walked away with a full belly, but more importantly, a clearer picture of their faith traditions,” Manley said. “We want the students to know the ‘why’ behind our practices and see how each one of them ties to scripture.”