Bramption youth bring Way of the Cross to life

By  Stephanie Buosi, Youth Speak News
  • April 16, 2009

{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - The congregation sat in semi-darkness in St. Jerome’s parish, silently awaiting the start of the devotional performance of the “Way of the Cross” by the parish’s youth. It was not a play, but rather an extended prayer that the members of the youth group performed on Good Friday.

Every year for the past decade, the youth have spent the better part of four months rehearsing and preparing spiritually for their re-enactment of the passion of Jesus Christ.

The Passion was narrated by Cheryl Saldanha, who voiced Mary, the mother of Jesus.

“In a way I felt I could at some level understand the pain that Mary experienced as I voiced her feelings,” said Saldanha. “I felt as if I was walking the stations with her.”

After each station, seven youth delivered reflections which related the station to present circumstances. A contemporary skit was then performed to illustrate a universal prayer given by a second narrator, Francesco Loscerbo. During transition between stations, the newly formed youth choir sang uplifting music, providing the audience with a moment to reflect on what they saw and heard.

“The church was completely full and we had lots of comments on how touching the Way of the Cross was and also comments in the reverence with which our youth approached it,” said Gil Aburto, a youth minister at St. Jerome’s.

The Way of the Cross at St. Jerome’s was first directed by Brian Barbosa back in 1998 as an attempt to greater involve the youth of the parish. It became an excellent way to help the youth better understand the significance of each station. Many of the youth, ages 13 to 17, have continued volunteering within the parish as lectors, choir members and youth ministers. This was the case with 18-year-old Ainslie DeSousa, the new director for this year’s procession. Shocked and nervous at first, DeSousa rose to the responsibility quite efficiently.

“My initial reaction was definitely shock. I couldn’t believe the old director was entrusting me with such responsibility,” said DeSousa. “My primary concern was that I had some big shoes to fill and I wasn’t sure if I could do a good job.”

Chosen for her leadership qualities and flare for stage, DeSousa managed to bring a fresh look to this year’s devotion.

“I would have to say that I hold the highest respect for the youth group. We all became so close this year, they’re like family to me now,” DeSousa said.

Her dedication to the youth helped the group to connect and develop lasting friendships with one another

“Ainslie did an excellent job and being a youth it definitely contributed to the atmosphere we were seeking,” said Amanda Tac, a youth minister and director of the youth choir. “We only hope that next year’s performance will be as big as this year.”

(Buosi, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Brampton, Ont.)

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