Students touched by their parents’ act of Christ’s ‘last footsteps’

Stations of the Cross have taken on a new meaning at Villa Maria Catholic Primary School Hunters Hill with 16 parents from the school community volunteering to re-enact Christ’s crucifixion in front of their children.

Mums from the school relived the agony of Mary as they staged ‘The Stations of the Cross – In the Footsteps of Mary’ before the school’s 425 students for a third consecutive year.

Family and Faith Educator Marea De Angelis said the re-enactment was a very moving reflection of the journey of Mary following her son’s suffering through those last 12 hours before his brutal death.

“Each year we are overwelmed with the number of mums that want to be part of this significant journey,” said Mrs De Angelis.

“As a marian school, with Mary as our focus, it gives parents the opportunity to share and celebrate the story of Easter with their children, through Mary’s eyes.

“We hope it gently encourages families to celebrate the true meaning of Easter and to place the focus on Jesus and his journey. It’s a great way to share the Gospel message of love and hope and support families in forming a foundation of faith with their children,” she added.

At least 100 families filled the quadrangle on the Thursday before Easter for the re-enactment.

At the 14 stations, each mum played the role of Mary replicating the experience: Jesus being condemned to death; Jesus taking and carrying his cross; his first fall, under the weight of the cross; meeting his mother; receiving help from Simon of Cyrene; having his face wiped by Veronica; falling a second time; interacting with the women of Jerusalem; falling a third time; being stripped of his clothing; being nailed to the cross; being taken from the cross; and being laid in his tomb.

Dad Richard Korkor, who played the role of Jesus, said that taking part in The Stations of the Cross was another way he could, as a parent, honour the commitment he made at the Baptsim of his children.

“Here we get a chance to willingly share our faith, this wonderful gift we have received with them in a public way, not being afraid or embarrassed,” he said.

The parents spent many hours rehearsing and preparing for the production as well as preparing the costumes of Mary, the Apostles and townspeople, with each person wearing appropriate period costumes.

Marita Winters, one of the 16 mums involved in the re-enactment for a second year, said it gave her great joy to participate in ‘In the Footsteps of Mary’.

“As a mother I find it a very moving engagement with the events of Jesus’ Passion through the perspective of His mother. I was drawn to this prayerful activity within the school community both because my daughter could witness my participation and as part of my own preparation for Easter,” Mrs Winters said.

Julie Boulis, another parent, said she volunteered as a way to teach the gifts of redemption and forgiveness with her own son.

“I feel that the process of the living stations is a visual learning experience provided to students about making difficult decision choices. Reflecting on the lived experience Christ helps us explore the virtues and sacrifices that we make daily in our own lives and where that may lead us. Recognising that these choices and decisions may come at a great cost and require a personal payoff or forgiveness,” she said.

Mrs De Angelis said that faith development begins in the home and is an ideal place were where faith “is caught”.

“It’s where values can be practiced and where spiritual growth can be encouraged,” she said.

Next Tuesday, the parent group will also re-enact the Stations of the Cross for parishioners at the Holy Name of Mary Church before Reconciliation begins.

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