Translated into artistic movement and dialogue, Christ’s Passion, seared the hearts of the faithful at the Sto. Rosario Parish in Toril last Friday.
Fr. Leomel “Jong” Puerto, Parish spiritual director, said it was the very first time the youth performed the Cenaculo, the life and passion of Christ, during Good Friday’s Holy Mass in the parish.
“I can’t remember the last time they had a play but this year we really intended to have it because this year is the Year of the Youth,” he said.
In preparation for the celebration of the 500th Year of Christianity in the Philippines, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference in the Philippines has declared 2019 as the Year of the Youth.
The year-long celebration will be on the theme “Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved, Gifted, Empowered.” Activities both in the national and diocesan levels are aimed on at least four objectives: youth in formation, youth in community, Church and society, youth in mission, and youth ministry and youth ministers.
The youth is given greater participation in gospel preaching, and Fr. Jong said that “most important is not so much about presentation, performance – I always tell them we are only instruments of the gospel, we are only proclaimers of the gospel,” Fr. Jong said.
“For if they themselves are not convinced of what they are doing, if they themselves do not know what it means in our lives, then it will just be a plain performance that needs only a clap,” he said.
The spiritual director has seen how theater can move parishioners to reflect more on the Gospel readings about the passion of Christ. He said the dramatized reading “can really touch our senses and emotions.”
“Through that way, we feel close to the gospel, in the experience of Jesus, and the suffering of Jesus,” he added.
“My message for Easter is that even if we are in a difficult situation, the poverty that people are experiencing – we should not lose hope and always fix our eyes to Jesus on the cross,” Fr. Jong said, and that “the cross is the message of hope and the message of dying to oneself. Hopefully if we die with Christ, hopefully we will also glorify with him as we celebrate this coming Easter,” he added.
Mark Ruel Narreto, artistic director of the Sto. Rosario Parish Teen Theatre, said the theatre group is a parish-based organization under the Parish Youth Apostolate. The organization consists of young leaders from different Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) or chapels and center organizations of Sto. Rosario Parish.
He said the members underwent a workshop on basic stage acting and made the production possible in two weeks.
“We are planning to strengthen the organization by recruiting young and talented actors each year and train them over the week-end,” he said.
This theatrical depiction of the passion of Christ is done in other parishes as well.
Fr. Jong said that last year in Sasa, Mandug’s Alfonso Parish and at least seven other parishes conducted the Cenaculo in the same way.
“Hopefully, this won’t be our last (performance), we have seen how it touched the hearts of the faithful,” he added.