It’s always interesting to “hear the perspective” of the young men and women who participate in our annual Passion Play. Here are a few of their annual “Passionate Reflections:
Reflections From Megan Ourso, Director
We are at one of our first practices, and I hear talking and some giggles as Audrey and William walk to the two chairs on the stage that represent a little stable on the edge of Bethlehem. They take their seats, both looking nervous. At the cue I turn off the lights. In the dark, Audrey adjusts her arms and pretends she is holding a baby. After a moment I turn the lights back on as the song sings the name of “Jesus,” and we behold Mary and Joseph beholding Jesus for the first time. The moment is striking, and everyone goes silent.
That happened at every single practice this year, that stillness when the lights came back on and the Name of Jesus was proclaimed. I think that is what I will remember most. To me, it was proof that the name of Jesus is efficacious, meaning the Name itself brings the desired result, the Presence of Jesus Himself.
Leading up to January, I prepared as much as I could, be it with songs, little details to make scenes clearer, or prayer intentions for each practice. Some songs had cues planned down to the lyric when practices finally began, but others had to be discussed as we went. We fell into our routine week after week: joking around, talking out each scene, me filling in for whoever could not make practice that day, observing silence for the more somber scenes.
Some of my favorite conversations started with, “Megan, what if…”
“What if Mary tossed the Crown of Thorns aside?”
“What if Jesus did the same thing as the priests?”
“What if we did this miracle after the Wedding Feast at Cana since everyone is already up there?”
These “what if” moments and so many others made all the difference this year. Gosh, our actors had some great ideas! And some things the actors would just add in themselves as the scenes played out. I do not know how many times I noticed something and thought, “I didn’t tell them to do that, but that’s so good!” The Holy Spirit was so active, and our actors were open to those movements.
Thank God for them.
These teens were so flexible and willing when it came to learning a new scene or switching direction for a practice. They were so exceedingly patient with me and with each other. They cheered for each other. They prayed for and over each other.
We knew we were building community and that we were working on something big, but we did not know just how anointed that time and space would be. It all seems so random when you look at it through the eyes of the world, but if you look at it through the eyes of faith, God worked everything out to His greatest glory. Think about it: that group of actors will never journey together through Lent in such a way again. That same group will never put on that same play to that exact audience on a dreary Good Friday evening ever again. How big and little it makes everything seem at the same time!
This has been hard to write. This little reflection closes the door on such a humbling experience that I will carry with me always. It has taught me so much about my own littleness. You see, this play was never mine. It belonged to this amazing group of actors, and they stewarded it well and ultimately gave it back to Him.
Y’all, Jesus is real. I have never been more certain of that truth than I am now after walking with these actors as we worked on this year’s Passion Play. All I can say is thank you.
Reflections From Audrey Purvis:
Since I have been in seventh grade, the Passion Play has grown more profound in my life each year. Seeing it from several different aspects such as crowd, to the wine server, Angel Gabriel, to this year playing the Blessed Mother. I could not be more grateful for something so moving and spiritually fulfilling. As a seventh grader, being a part of the play was not even seen to me as being a practice of prayer, and it has easily become one of my favorite ways to glorify God. Before the first showing, a prominent aspect of my Faith as well as many others in the youth group, Mr. Mike Barras gave the actors such a fruitful history of the Crucifixion and ended his talk with how happy God was that we were participating in the play. The words struck so deep for me simply because I knew I made my Heavenly Father proud. Nothing felt better than knowing that by getting to play Mother Mary, Jesus was smiling down at me along with the rest of the actors(and it definitely calmed my nerves). For the fourth year, (excluding my eighth grade year due to the pandemic) the play has provided overwhelming growth in my Faith during the Lenten season, and I learned to mourn the loss of Jesus as if I was there at the foot of Cross catching the drops of His precious blood. It is hard to believe that before St. Margaret gave the Passion play another chance, I was celebrating Good Friday with a crawfish boil, not even letting the heartbreaking thought of Jesus suffering cross my mind. I cannot believe I only have one year left of the youth group and play that has changed my life tremendously, from what started as watching my older siblings play larger roles as a timid seventh grader. It is even more difficult to process that so many of the seniors I have been acting with in the Passion Play for so long will not be there by my side next year. Thank you for such an amazing community that supports the youth; it makes such a difference seeing a large crowd to support us, and even more to see the play changing people’s hearts. The Passion Play will always hold a special place in my heart that I will cherish forever.
Reflections From Luke DeLaune
I played Peter in this years passion play. I’ve played a couple of the characters throughout the years and none of them felt as right as playing Peter. I feel some kind of connection to him that I can’t describe haha. Even though I am very much so not the real Peter I strangely feel like him while acting out every scene! I try to connect myself in every way possible to how Peter must have felt during these times of his life. For example, the Apostles watched Jesus do unbelievable things, I can’t imagine how it felt seeing miracles being performed! They were amazed but still held back at first I feel like, and slowly had to give into what was happening! Peter denied Jesus 3 times when asked about his relationship with him, so I feel like Peter was half and half and wanted to fully give in to this life but there was still something holding him back. Then having to find out later on that his closest friend was tortured and hung up on a cross left to the conclusion of his death! Not knowing if he’d ever see him again. He realizes his actions of betrayal and he breaks down and cries. The shame, and sorrow he must have felt! He thinks he will never get a chance to make things right with him, but this leads to Peters most beautiful moment with Jesus. Peter is at his lowest point, and doesn’t know what to do. Then miraculously Jesus rises up and resurrects back from the dead! Peter and Jesus finally reunite. Personally the resurrection scene is my favorite to act out! I have to be emotional, I have to feel shame, I have to be vulnerable. So leading up to that scene while I sit on the side watching the Crucifixion scene I try to connect myself in a real way with my emotions watching Jesus up on the cross! I also really enjoy playing Peter cause in some ways it feels like I’m playing myself. Being a part of this play is really exciting and fun! Everyone involved in this play did a really amazing job! I hope everyone enjoys this year’s adaptation!