Lent brings about a visual change in the regular setting of the Church. The left side-altar is covered and a stage is erected in front of it. The stage where the Passion becomes a visual reality to so many people. It is a visual representation of the Passion read out during the Eucharistic celebration.
These statues are painstakingly dressed and propped up bring alive the Lord’s Passion. Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, Pilate washing his hands off the truth, the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, Jesus carrying His Cross. Each scene comes alive at the altar. Children are fond of it and for those who can’t read, it is a dramatic setting.
We have the choir practice on Thursday evenings, that’s when a team of artists – painters, visualizers, set designers, et al led by Damian bring the Passion scenes alive.
Damian is a focussed leader and he has a very devoted team of sons of the soil – Mark, Augustine, Wilfred, John, Arden and the boys of Chimbai. While Damian spearheads the Passo stage in Church, Francis takes charge of the representation of the Last Supper at the Grounds and Good Friday.
I, for one, am so amazed at the work they do. While we, the Choir is the Vocal lot – rehearsing for the services, they are almost silent.
The backdrop is painstakingly changed week after week. They use the same screen to paint upon – so there is an excellent utility of the canvas. The final work which is opened for viewing every Saturday evening has great dimensional depth that speaks volumes for the teamwork, sense of community, the generosity with their time of those who work on these scenes.
Everything done in the Church during Lent serves to build up our faith, renew our hope and remind us to love as Jesus loved. Kudos to Damian, Francis and their team of men and boys for faithfully depicting the Passion year after year. It is obviously a tradition which has been handed down to them by those who have gone before.
Just a thought – would love to see a talented woman artist or more working alongside the men to let the scenes of the Passion have maybe the woman’s perspective. The thought is exciting. Any takers, ladies? Are you listening, guys?
– C D’Mello