Passion Journey Brightens Streets of Calais

By Lura Jackson

 

Sunlight graced the proceedings as Pastor Nathaniel Moore emerged as Jesus arisen from his tomb at the Immaculate Conception Church.  (Photo by Lura Jackson).

A colorful procession of men, women and children flowed down Main Street on Sunday, followed by a respectfully quiet crowd of observers that steadily grew as the journey progressed. The center of attention was a young man covered in a radiant white gown spotted with red: Pastor Nathaniel Moore, playing the role of Jesus as he was led to his crucifixion. Moore bore a stoutly made cross on his shoulders, aided at times by Father Kevin Martin in the role of Simon of Cyrene. The event marked Calais’ second ecumenical undertaking of a highly public reenactment of the Stages of the Cross.

Sister Aline of the Immaculate Conception Church was the primary coordinator of the event, which she heralded as a success. “People prayed, and that’s what matters. We achieved our goal as soon as that happened,” she said. Four churches participated in the reenactment itself, which Sister Aline said was another major purpose of the occasion. “May they all be one that the world will believe that you sent me,” she said, referencing a passage from the New Testament. Sister Aline hopes to hold the event again next year.

Approximately two dozen actors played the roles of Roman guards, Jewish priests, and spectators, among others. Every actor was adorned in bright costumes complete with accessories including jewelry, spears, shields, and of course, a crown of thorns. Tom MacDonald of the Knights of Columbus provided the narrative at each stage.

At the fourth station, Jesus is said to have been met by his mother, Mary, who weeps for him. “Wars come and go, and come again,” MacDonald said when the procession stopped at the appointed spot. “Oppressors come and go, and come again. We must find hope – the sorrowful women of the world are our guides.”

Pastor Moore, who had never played the role of Jesus during the Passion Journey before, said that one part of the experience was a true surprise: “I didn’t expect the cross to be so heavy.” Moore said that reflecting on the unhealthy condition of Jesus at the time added to his appreciation of the endurance required to undergo such a task. 

 

The reenactment began at 255 Main Street before turning up Calais Avenue and pausing at the First Congregational Church for the crucifixion. Pastor Moore was then carried to the Immaculate Conception Church where he was “buried” and then brought back to life to meet the awaiting crowd. Refreshments and warm drinks prepared by various parishioners and donors were promptly served for all participants and observers.Members of the Calais Police Department marked the route in advance and ensured the safety of all procession participants.