Living Stations of the Cross caps off Lenten season

As part of Holy Week observations, Campus Ministry hosted a live enactment of the Stations of the Cross on April 18 in St. Thomas More Church.

The show group Creative Ministries, which specializes in Biblical stories, brought the stations to life not only by acting them out, but by singing several hymns throughout the Passion story. The Stations of the Cross are the 14 events that chronicle the death of Jesus on Good Friday. Every Lent, Christians reflect on these events through prayer.

Following the worship song, “Were You There,” several characters, including the Blessed Mother, Simon of Cyrene, Veronica and Joseph of Arimathea told their accounts of where they were during the execution of Jesus.

The enactment began with the first station of Jesus’s condemnation to death by Pontius Pilate. Walter Wall, the actor who played Jesus, proceeded to pick up a large wooden cross which he carried around the church. Each of the stations was accompanied with a short reflection and song.  

The crowd did not play a role in the Passion but was encouraged to sing along. Pat Ryan, who played Simon of Cyrene, said that his role was to help give the audience a different perspective on the crucifixion than they might get sitting in church.

“We want the audience to feel like they were there and give them a firsthand account of what happened,” Ryan said.

St. John’s student Angela Sammerco said that the visuals and sounds did help to put a new perspective on a familiar story. “To see it and not be able to stop it was very powerful,” she said.  

The actors strived for an authentic performance, so much so that they mentally prepared for their roles.

“Being in it feels like you lived it…it takes me a few minutes to get myself in that mindset,” Ryan said.

Maxine Sherbo remembered the first time the director told her to ask herself: ‘Where were you when you first met Jesus?’

“When I look up at the cross, I feel like all the sins throughout the year caused [the crucifixion of Jesus] to happen,” Sherbo said.

The group has performed the stations several times together. Wall said that performing as believers of Jesus’ message helps to give them strength.

“We have a few new members and some old, but the connecting thing is that we all believe in what Jesus taught while he was here on earth,” Wall said.