Youth prepare for Holy Week ceremonies

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 8, 2001

Teenagers from two churches will bring to life the final moments of Christ’s life Wednesday as they present the living Stations of the Cross.

Members of St. Mary Catholic Youth Organization and First Presbyterian Church’s youth group are working together on the project.

&uot;Since the earliest days, followers of Jesus have been told the story of his passion, death and resurrection,&uot; said Janet Dillard, a St. Manry CYO coordinator.

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While pilgrims once retraced the footsteps of Jesus Christ’s final days – from his last supper to his crucifixion on Calvary to his resurrection in the tomb – in the Holy Land, the Stations of the Cross developed in about 1500 as a series of shrines whose images evoked the memories and actions of Christ. &uot;It’s a powerful way to contemplate the mystery of Jesus’ gift of himself to us,&uot; she said. &uot;It takes it out of your head&uot; and makes the prayer an interactive exercise.

Meditations and prayers accompany the shrines, and today the Stations of the Cross are a familiar meditation and prayer sequence observed by many Christians, particularly during Holy Week.

Dillard said members of the two youth groups decided only recently to present this live interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. For it, teenagers will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the steps of St. Mary Catholic Church, at the corner of Main and Union streets, and move throughout downtown Natchez for the remaining 13 stations, returning to Memorial Park for the closing prayer and meditation.

&uot;At each station, youth group members will act out the station; Dr. Scott Fleming (administrator of Cathedral School) will read a meditation; and we’ll sing a responsorial psalm, ‘Jesus Remember Me,’&uot; said Dillard, who is working with First Presbyterian’s Stephanie Butts to coordinate the project.

Teens John Borum, Charles Powers, Tyler Crispy and Russ Butts will provide the musical accompaniment. &uot;We have about 30 children participating, from third grade through high school,&uot; Dillard said. &uot;The community is encouraged to attend and participate; we hope that maybe next year, more churches will join us, and this is something that could turn into a community event during Holy Week each year.&uot;