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Stations of the Cross: 2008
We decided very late to attend the Stations of the Cross: the night before to be exact!
Originally Sandi was going to be a volunteer at the events (so would not have been in a position to attend), but that never progressed; so she ended up with the week off!
Our son Jesse was asked to audition for the part of Jesus and ended up as one of the four last "hopefuls" (see here and here). Alfio Stutio was eventually chosen (and did an exceptionally fine job), Jesse ended up playing Joseph of Arimathaea in the 3rd and 13th Station.
When I came home from work and said that some of my work colleagues had been encouraging me to attend the Stations, she said that she'd actually like to go. So go we did: Jesse organised some VIP tickets and we got some very good seats at Barangaroo.
Apart from a few technical glitches at the beginning the presentation was truly awesome. For me the highlights were:
Judas Kiss: Dance
This was displayed as an interlude whilst Jesus was walked from Sanhedrin at The Art Gallery of NSW down to Pilate at the Opera House. Previous Judas was seen picking up a rope and walking off in a dejected manner after the arrest of Jesus.
The dance was performed by 5 young male dancers and powerfully portrayed an extremely tortured soul.
Aboriginal dance, Simon of Cyrene
As Jesus was taken away for crucifixion (by barge from the Opera House to Darling Harbour) an Aboriginal dance was performed that was also extremely powerful. The sounds and visuals were amazing, ending in a wailing that seemed to imitate the stricken daughters of Jerusalem.
Art, Power and Beauty
These Stations were so much more than just the Stations of the Cross: they were true art, full of power and beauty.
I'm not sure if the rumours were true that Mel Gibson was a contender to produce the Stations (after his success with The Passion of The Christ), but my reactions were very similar. Could not help but weep at what was done to Jesus being so graphically depicted, and yet these horrors walked hand in hand with some absolutely beautiful images. We were left completely disarmed.
Spirituality, Prayer and Connection
The Stations depict a horrific event, these Stations depicted it graphically and powerfully. Thank goodness for the Narrators who put things into a modern context and translated the events into do-able imperatives for our lives.
Thank goodness for the wisdom of our fathers who conclude each Station with a personal prayer and dedication.
The WYD Community
After leaving The Stations we wandered back to Central Station through Darling Harbour, where we experienced the World Youth Day Community. What a wonderful experience being in the middle of 100's of 1,000's of other Catholic pilgrims, all singing, chanting, smiling, carrying their national flags proudly. A wonderful experience that flies in the face of my experience at the Bicentennial celebrations. I don't think the crowds in Heaven will be so bad after all!
This afternoon we are heading down to Botany to stay with a friend overnight. Tomorrow we'll walk to Randwick for the Papal Mass, a short 7km.
I'm now looking forward to the experience of praying with half-a-million other people