Students pray while the city is still asleep

Students pray while the city is still asleep

An early mass in preparation for Easter

27-03-2024 · Reportage

MAASTRICHT. Outside you can hear the sound of the road sweepers that clean the streets of Maastricht before daybreak. Inside, in a small chapel in the Sint Servaas Basilica, is the sound of Latin and English prayers. Getting up out of bed before seven in the morning to go to church? A group of catholic students – on average about twenty to 25, it varies with each day – has been doing so since 14 February.

Besides it being Valentines Day, it was also the start of lent, the preparation period for Easter. This prompted some students to ask parish priest John Dautzenberg to say an early mass every morning. He likes to rise on time for this: he finds it encouraging to see young people in his church.

Praying for others

But still: at seven o’clock? “It is early,” Italian student of Business Engineering Mattia Valente admits during breakfast, which they have together in the sacristy afterwards. But: “Going to mass brings me closer to God.” So far, Louis de Boissieu has been here every day. It was tough for him in the beginning, “I am used to getting up late. But I go to help out”. The French student of European Studies at Zuyd hogeschool is actually an altar server. “It is important to me,” he says. “It is a good thing to start your day with Christ and to take the time to pray for other people.”

De Boissieu is looking forward to Easter, which will be celebrated this weekend: “That is the feast of the Resurrection of Christ, the foundation of my religion.” He will celebrate it at home with his family in France. Visiting family is not possible for Valente: “I have an exam two days after Easter.”

Fully awake

The early trip to the church has reaped practical rewards as well, the two have noticed. “I have the whole day ahead of me,” says Valente. “When I go to the library in a little while to study, I am fully awake.” Now that he has to rise early, De Boissieu also has more time to study. Smiling: “I am now on time and prepared for my lesson.”


Photo: Joey Roberts

Categories: news_top, People
Tags: Students, Easter, Faith, Prayer, Mass, Sint Servaas Basilica

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