Each year, St. Pius V School’s 8th grade class puts on a Passion Play to prepare their Firedog Family to enter into Holy Week. Despite the COVID-19 epidemic this year, St. Pius V students knew that the show must go on, and were determined to find a way to continue this beloved tradition.
For weeks, students collected digital images of the fourteen stations of the cross and, in lieu of acting, rehearsed their lines so they could live stream a virtual Passion Play. This play, called Crossmaker, would consist of taking the audience through each station of the cross, and, at each station, students would share a short reflection told by one of the characters in the scene, explaining, from that character’s perspective, how they contributed to the crucifixion.
On April 8, St. Pius V School’s virtual Passion Play was live streamed to the entire school community, and it was clear that the students’ hard work paid off. The play went off without a hitch.
Mrs. Paroyian, St. Pius V School’s Nurse, watched the play from home with her family. After it was over, she remarked: “It was so nice for the 8th graders to still be able to perform the Passion just in a different way. We are so blessed to have this loving community.”
Sr. Vincent Marie Keeling, O.P., St. Pius V School’s 8th grade teacher who worked to prepare the students for the play, shared some reflections with the St. Pius community after the play finished.
“Our journey to Easter this year has been anything but normal,” Sister said. “We have, in a real sense, along with the whole world, gone into the desert, into exile. That’s not by our own choosing in one sense, but maybe a reflection of how the world, in another sense, really has been moving in a greater exile from what is real and what matters: our relationship with God and with our families.
My challenge to you during this Holy Week is to reflect on the questions, ‘Where am I?’, ‘What character do I most relate to here?’, ‘In what ways have I, even before what we’re going through now, already maybe been in exile from the Lord?’, and ‘How, during these next few days, am I being called to have that conversion of the Centurion, or Mary Magdalene, or Simon of Cyrene?’
So we have this Triduum, and most of us are at home with our families. So, as families, really enter into the mysteries of our Salvation. Ponder what this separation from being at the liturgies really means to you. Let’s all truly allow the Lord to show us what in our hearts needs to change so that when we pray, He hears us knocking, He hears us asking, He hears us seeking for His mercy, to bring an end to this pandemic, but to also bring us out changed, humbled, and faithful.”
Sister Vincent Marie closed the live stream with a Glory Be, and, in a very moving moment, the audience could hear when the students started to pray with her as well.
This year’s Passion Play at St. Pius V School served as an hour of unity and hope during an age of social distancing. St. Pius reminds us that charity and faith know no borders and that, even though we remain apart, we are truly united in the Mystical Body of Christ. Let us remember that we are invited always to bring ourselves and each other closer to Christ Crucified, to help Him carry His cross, and to wait with Mary Magdalene right outside His tomb, so that we may rejoice with Jesus when He reveals His victory over death, announcing to the whole world, O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? ~1 Corinthians 15:55~