By Sarah Mac Donald - 14 April, 2014
By Independent Catholic News – www.indcatholicnews.com
For the fifth year in a row, Trafalgar Square in central London will be transformed into Jerusalem of two millennia ago on Good Friday, when the 80-strong cast of the Wintershall Players perform the Passion of Christ at 12 noon and 3.15pm.
The epic performances will be relayed to massive screens and high quality sound systems will carry the actors’ words around the Square.
More than 20,000 people are expected to come and watch the drama.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols will say a closing prayer at the end of the first performance at 1.15pm.
Commenting when the production first came to London, Cardinal Nichols said: “I am delighted that people from so many Christian denominations will be coming together to remind Londoners why the bank holiday of Good Friday is observed.”
He added, “The Wintershall plays have, for many years, brought the scriptures alive to many thousands of people. The production of the Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square will build on that and bring the true meaning of Easter to many more in the centre of London.”
Scriptwriter and director Peter Hutley MBE said: “The support we are receiving from so many churches demonstrates the unity of the denominations in the birth, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus. I hope the play will bring faith in Christ to those who don’t know about him, remind those who do, and develop faith as the greatest gift that mankind can have.”
Separately, On Good Friday, Pax Christi Metro New York will walk the Way of the Cross through Manhattan.
Over 500 people will be taking part.
They will recall how Jesus’ revolutionary life led to his unwarranted execution and contemplate how counter-cultural it can be if we truly walk with Him in His way of life today.
They will pray for the courage to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and offer this contemporary Stations of the Cross as penance for their own complicity in the sins of a world that has lost its moral compass.
This year they will reflect in a special way on the question: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken us, or have we forsaken each other?”
In addition, Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) dedicates this year’s Good Friday ‘Way of the Cross’ to Bishop Joseph M Sullivan, former Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn.
For most of PCMNY’s 32 years of organising this solemn Way of the Cross, Bishop Sullivan led the opening prayer. Last June, tragically, he died after being struck down in a terrible car accident.
Rosemarie Pace, Director Pax Christi Metro New York, told ICN, “This is our first year without Bishop Sullivan, and we mourn his absence. He who once walked with us in the flesh now walks with us in spirit. We are most grateful for having been blessed with his presence all those years, and we trust that he will continue to watch over us as we carry on without him.”
The PCMNY Good Friday Way of the Cross is a procession of prayer for suffering people throughout the world: refugees and immigrants; people without health care; those suffering from addiction and mental illness; victims of hunger and homelessness, racism, bullying, gun violence, and human trafficking.
It is a walk of repentance for our indifference to the plight of our environment, and it is a plea for serenity and hope that we might be energized to be the change our faith calls us to be in the world.
The Good Friday Way of the Cross is sponsored by over 80 religious organizations and individuals.
Participants stop along the route at 15 contemporary Stations of the Cross. At each Station, groups as varied as high school and college students, young adults and veteran peace activists, reflect on Jesus’ passion as described in scripture and experienced in modern times. Songs of petition and praise accompany and link each Station.
At the final Station, all unite to celebrate life transformed when we follow the Way of Christ. The faithful will have turned 42nd Street into a place of prayer, reminding us that Jesus’ suffering and death were public events and that establishing peace and justice is everyone’s responsibility.
Closer to home, Catholic Movement Communion and Liberation will host their annual ‘Way of the Cross’ through the Phoenix Park on Good Friday at 12pm.
The procession will begin at the Wellington Monument and will proceed to the Papal Cross.