This year’s Good Friday Ceremony and Pageant of The Passion of Christ will take place at 3pm in the Church of St John the Baptist, Castle St. Tralee, and later at 8pm in the Church of Saints Stephen and John here in Castleisland.
This Fr. Pat Ahern production of The Passion with a cast of 40, is now in its fourteenth year and this will be the second year in which the St. John’s Liturgy Drama Group will travel to Castleisland for an evening performance.
They delighted their congregation last year with the colour and presentation of the event and the 2016 cast will include parishioners from the of Castleisland, Cordal and Scartaglin areas.
In the run-up to last year’s first ever such staging of a pageant of this kind here, the Tralee based group and its choir promised drama and colour for its Castleisland audience at the Church of Saints. Stephen and John.
And that’s exactly what they delivered. They entertained the near capacity crowd with scenes we never witnessed in the parish church here before.
In spite of the fact that they had performed the whole ‘show’ twice – once in rehearsals – already that day in Tralee, they gave it all and everything for their fresh and appreciative audience in Castleisland.
It was billed as ‘A Solemn Celebration of the Passion and Death of Christ’ – with musicians, singers and a 30 plus strong cast of actors in costume.
The well suited costumes are the produce of the women of the group and their sewing machines. They were made initially for the Tralee group’s involvement in the Fr. Pat Ahern created ‘Dance of Life’ pageant in 2000. This was a celebration of the coming of the Millennium. It involved 800 singers and a cast of 200 and was performed in the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet.
Getting the group out from Tralee last year proved a master stroke for the genial PP Monsignor Dan O’Riordan.
‘Fr. Dan’ – as he is known in the area, is a former PP of the St. John’s Parish in Tralee and he had the inside track when it came to coaxing the talented troupe out of their natural habitat.
“He’s a great man for the parish,” “That was like bringing the whole story of Good Friday to life – like you were there,” “I’ve never seen anything like this here before and I hope they do it again.”
These are just a handful of the positive comments which flowed from the delighted and entertained audience in the immediate wake of the event.
Well they are doing it all again and it will all happen at 8pm on Good Friday night.
A huge number of the attendance stayed back to do the Stations of the Cross after last year’s show. The church stayed open up to midnight to facilitate the crowds doing so.