Passion play scheduled for Good Friday

St. John’s Bosco Catholic Church will hold a non-denominational Passion play at its newly acquired property on Good Friday in Woodstock.

The “Live Stations of the Cross” will feature both English and Spanish speakers, adults and teenagers, reenacting Jesus Christ’s walk through town carrying the cross before his cruxification. There will be 14 stops made as the actor portraying Jesus walks around the property, seven of which will be spoken in English and seven in Spanish.

Sister Laura Nieves, one of the event organizers, said the Passion play is an attempt to bring together the community.

“Our church is bilingual, but this is the first time we’ve done anything outside and reached out to other believers from any other creed, faith, denomination, religion, color,” she said. “It’s open to everybody and we want to make sure everybody knows they are invited and they don’t have to believe what I believe.”

Nieves, a Hispanic-American herself, said when she moved from San Antonio, Texas, to serve at St. Bosco’s, she noticed a disconnection between English- and Spanish-speaking populations in the area.

“The English-speaking community are afraid to talk to the Spanish-speaking community, and vice versa,” she said. “I can’t understand it. I worked in downtown San Antonio for 12 years and it doesn’t matter what language you speak, when it comes to celebrating, we have to be able to do it together. That was one of my biggest commitments when I came here.”

Nieves said so far, in preparation for the event, the community as a whole has shown its support.

“Because we are nuns, few people tend to say no,” she said, with a laugh. “But we have been very humbled because we have seen so many people, both Spanish and English, have offered to participate in the play.”

Last month, the Catholic Church announced it bought the property at 207-227 N. Main St. in Woodstock. The event will be held there and Nieves said it is an opportunity for the church to hold an “open house” for the community.

“We want to show that we want to use the property for the community, since it used to be a public park,” Nieves said.

Nieves said she hopes the event will grow in the future.

“In San Antonio, with our Stations of the Cross, we invited every pastor and the archbishop and walked downtown, side by side,” she said. “One of the major goals I’d like to see in the future is to do it on the street, but this is a good start.”

Nieves added, “This is a good start for all of us in the Shenandoah Valley because I think we need it. We need to know who is our neighbor, who lives across the street from us … it doesn’t matter what religion we are or what color we are, we need each other. That’s the only way we’re going to survive.”

The event is open to the public and begins at 3 p.m. Friday.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com