On Sunday March 13, Mount St. Mary’s University hosted its first ever living Stations of the Cross. The event had been in the works for a long time by many people, including former-President Simon Newman and Father Brian Nolan, Mount St. Mary’s University chaplain and Director of the Center for Campus Ministry.
The cold and rain did not deter a crowd from forming in front of Knott Auditorium at 3 p.m. Students, faculty and staff and other members of the Mount community held umbrellas and wore raincoats, with some wearing trash bags to keep themselves a bit dry.
The weather did not seem to have a negative effect on the cast, either. Kevin McCarthy C’18, played Jesus, was still stripped down before being put on the cross, and various members of the cast went without wearing shoes, making it a more realistic performance.
Before the performance began, Nolan informed the audience that they would be taking on the part of the crowd at the crucifixion, and that they were expected to respond accordingly and would be treated as members of the cast as such. He opened with a prayer, and invited those present to walk the way of the cross. “See how much He loves you.” Nolan concluded.
Throughout the entire performance, the student actors truly took on the persona they portrayed. Kate Quinn C’17, played one of the women who meets Jesus on His journey to Calvary and would ask members of the audience why nobody was doing anything to stop the cruelty or help Jesus.
Likewise, Andrea Montanti C’18, portrayed the Blessed Virgin Mary, and wept throughout the entire performance.
The procession ended at Peace Plaza, with McCarthy and two other student actors being lifted up on crosses.
The entire performance was very lifelike as well as moving. Lenna Castro Marquez C’16 was among the crowd and was touched by the realness of the performance.
Marquez has been attending Living Stations of the Cross in her hometown for some time, and decided to see how the Mount would go around doing it. She said: “[I] thought it would be super special here because it was all student actors.”
She was not disappointed by the performance. “I thought being treated as a member of the crowd was really moving,” Marquez stated, “at times I had difficulty saying the responses.”
She was especially moved by the performances of McCarthy as Jesus and Montanti as Mary. Both portrayals reminded her just how much suffering was undergone during Christ’s passion of death.
Although the poor weather could be seen as a downfall, Montanti said that the sacrifices that were made by both the audience and the cast because of the rain made a big difference. “It really set the somber tone for the event as a whole.” She stated, “I believe that it made it all the more impactful.”
Considering the success of the event, it looks like the Mount community will be looking forward to another Living Stations of the Cross in 2017. Marquez agreed, and even though she will be graduating this May, she said, “I would probably come back for it!”