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University preparing for Easter

Marcela Berrios | Thursday, April 13, 2006

Notre Dame will suspend academic pursuits this weekend in favor of the celebration of Christ’s passion and resurrection.

Many students will travel home for the four-day break from classes, while others will join their parents to attend the various liturgies and services at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Senior Madeleine Heck will stay on campus to work on her thesis, but also to be part of the RCIA baptisms while serving as a sponsor.

“The girl I am sponsoring already received her sacraments, but we are both staying here for the rest of the group, and to attend the liturgies at the Basilica together,” Heck said.

Sophomore Ali Donovan is looking forward to using the break to spend time with her family.

“I participated in an Appalachia service project over spring break, so I didn’t have an opportunity to see my parents then,” Donovan said. “I’m just really excited about having a few days off and spending them with my family.”

Donovan and her parents will be traveling together to California to visit family during the holiday.

Despite the departure of many students, campus will be kept busy as the Basilica, the choirs and South Dining Hall eagerly prepare for the final days of Holy Week.

“There are many different choral groups participating in this weekend’s services, and they have all dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and effort to their respective repertoires,” Director of Campus Ministry Steven Warner said.

Warner said the combined membership of these choirs – which include the Liturgical Choir, the Folk Choir, the Handbell Choir and the Basilica Schola, among others – is approximately 150 musicians, all of whom have been rehearsing on a daily basis this week in anticipation of Easter.

However, these and other preparations for the Easter services – such as flower decorations and traffic flow arrangements, to name a few – began months ago, Warner added.

Their final efforts will be seen and heard in the liturgies the Basilica has prepared, which include the Mass of the Lord’s Supper Thursday evening, the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, the Paschal Vigil Mass on Saturday and Easter Sunday Mass, among others.

In previous years, attendance at these services has surpassed 1,000 – a figure composed of students, faculty and members of the South Bend community, said the Office of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

South Dining Hall, which will remain open during the weekend, also expects large crowds. General Manager Marc Poklinkowski said approximately 2,600 people are likely to come to the traditional Easter buffet on Sunday.

The buffet will offer popular menu items, as well as more intricately prepared dishes.

For example, the lamb that will be served on Easter Sunday is in fact prepared in both dining halls, as the oven time required is greater than that of any other meal a single dining hall usually handles.

Visitors can also expect to be greeted by ice sculptures, fruit displays and Easter baskets on every table Sunday.

“We are painting approximately 1,000 eggs to decorate the Easter centerpieces and baskets, which the students enjoy doing,” Poklinkowski said. “Those shifts always fill up a lot quicker than the dish-washing shifts that follow the buffet.”

Throughout the weekend, Poklinkowski said he expects roughly 1,300 students at every meal, a good estimate of the amount of students that choose to stay on campus during the break, which is more than the amount that stays here during Thanksgiving or any other break.