`Taste of freedom’ a theme of upcoming Seder meals | PostIndependent.com

`Taste of freedom’ a theme of upcoming Seder meals

Irene Goergen, director of religious education at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rifle, says that at this year’s Seder meals, Americans might consider the freedoms they take for granted.”Sometimes we should think of that more often,” Goergen said. “Americans are so accustomed to their freedoms, sometimes we forget that others countries aren’t free. Hopefully, this will give us a more profound taste for freedom.”Seder meals are held by Jews and some Christian denominations during Passover to commemorate the Israelites gaining their freedom from Egypt in what is believed to have been 1200 BC.Passover was the 10th and final plague sent against the Egyptians for keeping Israelites in slavery. The Bible says that God sent an angel to kill the first-born child of every Egyptian family, but Jews who had put lamb’s blood above their doors were spared.The word “passover” comes from the angel passing over the Jewish homes, and also from Jews passing over to freedom, according to biblical reference books.Goergen said Seder meals are simple, and reflect the meals the Jews ate just before fleeing Egypt for the promised land.The Jews took unleavened bread (without yeast) because it wouldn’t spoil on their journeys. Seder meals also include bitter herbs, to symbolize the hardships the Israelites faced after leaving Egypt. Roast lamb is also part of the meal because the Jews used it for sustenance.As the meal is consumed, scriptures are read aloud before each dish, and prayers are offered. The meal typically lasts about 90 minutes.Goergen said Catholics started observing Seder after Vatican II in the 1960s, which among other things broadened the church’s use of the Old Testament.”Jesus was a Jew,” Goergen noted.The Tri-Community Parishes of Rifle, Silt and Parachute are celebrating Seder through the Passover season. All the meals are at 6:30 p.m., and the schedule is as follows:-Rifle – Tuesday, March 12, at St. Mary Parish;-Silt – Wednesday, March 20, at Sacred Heart Parish;-Parachute – Monday, March 25, at St. Brendan Parish.The meals are free, but reservations are encouraged; call 625-3914. Participants are invited to bring a salad or dessert.Parish staff at the Seders will be Father Robert Hehn, Sister Mary Senglaub, Irene Goergen, and the Parish Liturgy Committee.

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