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St. Juan Diego youth in Sharpsburg moved by performing in 'Living Stations of the Cross'

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Terrance Whitehead, standing, Benjamin MIller and Allison Fabian particiapate in the Stations of the Cross at the Madonna of Jerusalem Parish in Sharpsburg.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Terrance Whitehead, standing, Benjamin MIller and Allison Fabian particiapate in the Stations of the Cross at the Madonna of Jerusalem Parish in Sharpsburg.

The youngest members of St. Juan Diego Parish will bring to life a poignant production of Jesus' last day on Earth — without ever speaking a word.

Members of the parish youth group, The Trinidad, will perform “Living Stations of the Cross,” at 8 p.m. Friday in Madonna of Jerusalem church, which is along Ninth Street.

“We hope people see that we are living the Gospel,” said Tom Troyan, parish youth group director for five years. “It is not lived once a month; it is lived every day.”

With a cast of about a dozen, Troyan will take parishioners through the 12 scenes in which Jesus carries the weighty cross to his crucifixion.

The silent production has students striking poses along the altar to portray the condemnation, the fall and the meeting with his mother.

“It is very moving and a bit nerve-wracking for the kids,” Troyan said.

“We've had a few over the years that have been reluctant to do it, but after it was over, they said, “Wow!” They come out with a spiritual sense of what Jesus went through.”

Students portray the roles of all involved in the drama of the cross, from Pontius Pilate; to Veronica, who wipes Jesus' face; to the guard who pushes Jesus along the path.

The stations take about 45 minutes to perform.

There have been years past when the students acted out the Passion. But, Troyan said he wants to keep the message fresh.

He said he thinks the presentation this year will be dramatic, with students posing before a spotlight on the altar.

“The act is still the same, but I think it will be very spiritual.”

Ben Miller, a sophomore at Shaler Area High School, will participate in the play.

Having joined the youth group last fall, it is Miller's first Passion presentation, and, he said, he is looking forward to it.

“Oh I think it's a very great honor,” said Miller, 16. “I'm nervous but I feel confident that people will enjoy it.

“I hope it gets the word out that there is only one God, he had the most suffering, and he gave us this life.”

Troyan and his students have been rehearsing for about four weeks. They aim to make the crowd — typically more than 100 — proud.

“You hope that the parishioners see we have an active youth ministry that serves our community,” Troyan said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or at

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