New Life

The tomb is empty! Our hearts are full! May the great joy and triumph of this Easter season be with you now and always! Happy Easter everyone!

This year I was tasked by our community to design the stage for the Holy Week Triduum liturgy and my heart went pitter patter as I contemplated on the year's theme from Psalm 16.

It is a great honor for me to be chosen for this task as more than a thousand people will be seeing it and it will either help them or distract them on these holy days.

As I thought more and more about it, my mind fixed on trees and a verse from Psalm 1, one of my favorites, came to mind, "Blessed is he who delights in God's law... He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

This year is a call to greater fruitfulness in my life so I felt I just had to put a tree in there somewhere. The thing is, I've never really seen trees associated with Lent and Easter so it was all up in the air until my sister Peggy who has been designing the stage areas for years now told me she also thought of a tree concept for a future stage concept.

Nevertheless I still made choices for the organizers and let them decide. Here was my first design...which due to constraints, could not be accommodated. I so grudgingly let go of the grunge textures I wanted to use :)Next, were the succeeding day's themes, which initially, only needed a few revisions. Here's the design onstage...The stage turned out this way...
This was my first time to conceptualize an altar of repose and I thought of it as one of the trees in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was apprehended by the soldiers. Have you ever thought about how Jesus' passion started in a garden and ended in the garden tomb? I've been thinking a lot about it and wondering what God's purpose was for doing that.Could it be that the garden symbolizes Eden where the first man Adam fell away from God through sin? Could it be that Jesus is the new "Adam" who has restored us back to God the Father's original plan of being a family with us after all?

This season must be a season for me to learn humility and letting go since a few days before the celebrations began, there came about a need to change the theme of one of the days. Instead of the tree with roots, this was the new graphic...
Here's the actual stage...*Thank you to John Rich Villas for the stage shots! Click here for his pro portfolio.

The time came for the liturgical celebrations and seeing the images I drew warmed my heart. I'm not really sure if they helped anyone else to focus more deeply.

All I can say is that when the Gloria was sung and all of the community started singing praises and thanksgiving with loud shouts of joy I felt the victory of Christ's resurrection! Bells and trumpets sounded, resounding clapping all around and exultant songs rang through the whole place. God was surely present in our celebration.

It was also a wonderful thing for our community to have guests from Union Church. It is a first for us Catholics to welcome the members of their Protestant church and be one with them in praise and worship! Indeed may we be one!

He is risen! Let us rejoice knowing that He walks with us today, not just thousands of years ago but today, here and now He is continually drawing us closer and closer to His love! Alleluia!

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Calej lives in Japan with her husband. She designs and doodles for a living.


  1. Hello Calej! The opportunity given to you was priceless. You were given the chance to share your talent and express your faith to the Risen Christ.

    Congratulations also for being able to invite some members of the Union Church in your community celebration. This seldom happens and I guess that's another God's gift for you.

    Happy Easter!


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