As Easter weekend rolls around, students from Seattle might be looking forward to a leisurely stroll through Pike Place Market, whereas those from Denver might be planning a more challenging hike for their to-do list. But what’s in store for the students who don’t head for home?
Luckily for the GU students who do stay in Spokane, there are plenty of ways to keep busy, both near and far from campus.
For the students who practice Catholicism or are interested in celebrating Easter in the Catholic Church this year, St. Aloysius Church has many events that welcome all students. Services dedicated to the Easter season beginning on Friday.
In preparation of Jesus’ resurrection, on the second day of Holy Week, Good Friday, St. Al’s will hold a Stations of the Cross service, which is a devotional exercise of visiting and praying in front of each of the 14 stations that reveal the Passion of Christ. The church is offering two sessions, one at 10:15 a.m. and another at 12:30 p.m., both in the Chapel of College Hall.
On the day considered Holy Saturday in the Catholic Church, April 20, the parish is having an Easter Vigil Mass at 8 p.m. in the church to begin the Easter day countdown. A part of this service will be dedicated to welcoming young adults of the parish, including Zags, into the Catholic Church through a holy sacrament called Confirmation.
Finally, on the long-awaited Easter day, April 21, the parish offers four services to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The three morning services are at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. in the Church, and a 7:00 p.m. service will be held in the Chapel.
For the many practicing, non-practicing, or exploring Christians of Gonzaga, there are many welcoming churches in Spokane who invite Zags to worship. Summit Church, located in two places, one on the South Hill and another standing just a short walk from GU campus, is also holding events throughout the weekend.
Tristana Leist, a senior Zag, is excited to attend St. Aloysius on Easter Sunday morning. Her plan is to go with a group of friends to church then come back and celebrate Jesus and community over brunch. While she is aware of the quietness that may surround campus, Leist is ready to use that space as part of her reflection and celebration.
“Jesus descended into Hell before ascending into Heaven and that was to get all of the people who had come before him that didn’t have the chance to worship. So, I like that perspective of not leaving people behind — it translates to a Spokane Easter away from family as not letting people get left behind here either, in a sense,” Leist explained in her reflection of how her weekend may look.
Melanie Collett, an active adult in the Summit ministry and YoungLife at Gonzaga, said that Summit will have a Good Friday celebration from 7 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. and will be held at the location near campus.
Easter weekend services at Summit Church are held in the Fox Theater downtown, Saturday night at 6 p.m. and Sunday morning at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. will be open to all people of Spokane to celebrate.
Some of Collett’s final words when highlighting these two events emphasize the value of having college students in church, “College students should know not only that they are welcome, but they have voices in the congregation and shouldn’t be afraid to join the church community.”
Easter weekend on campus is not a weekend only for the religious students. GU Outdoors and the COG are also holding events for the students who choose to stay.
Noah Bagley, a junior guide for GU Outdoors, will be co-leading a backpacking trip through the Stajica Trail near Lake Chelan over the holiday weekend. As planned, the trekkers will take off from Spokane on Friday toward Chelan and enjoy a ferry ride before stepping foot onto the trail. They have plans for three days of hiking along the river before heading back to Spokane on Sunday.
“Last year on Easter break I did tons of backpacking and it was really fun. A lot of people, including myself, connect with God or their own spirituality in the outdoors and they see a lot of incredible things that are just unexplainable, so I think it is really special to be with people in the outdoors,” said Bagley as he prepares for the weekend.
The three-day moderate hiking excursion will be all-inclusive — food, tent, transportation and more — and is available now on Cashnet for $48.
Alyssa Oddi, a senior GU Outdoors guide and junior Kyle Evers will also be co-leading a trip over the break for the same price.
Oddi will be leading adventurers along the Selway River in the Clearwater National Forest Friday through Sunday. On this trip, Oddi and her co-leader will be teaching outdoor survival skills, such as backcountry cooking, water filtration, wilderness and medicine. This trip is designed for new outdoor adventurers, as the group will hike along the river where there is little elevation gain and there will be plenty of opportunity to learn the how to’s of backpacking.
For the Zags who need a little competition in their lives, there will be a Spikeball Tournament hosted by the Residence Hall Association on April 19 at noon.
Last but not least, the COG will remain open from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. over the holiday weekend. There will be an Easter Brunch, a special meal for students and guests including a festive menu of carved ham, prime rib, scalloped potatoes and a baked potato bar for the holiday.
“Zag Dining is a true partner of the Gonzaga Community and with that we are honored to host special meals and events for all to enjoy, not just the student population," said Lisa Ridgeway, marketing director of Zagdining by Sodexo. "As a pillar in this community, we are proud to bring people together and offer a safe, fun and affordable way to celebrate together."