Tby Nicholas Plante ’18 and Peter Camporeale ’18
Nicholas Plante and Peter Camporeale are musicians for the youth choir at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.
The liturgical season of Lent is the perfect time to further our spiritual devotions. Reflecting on the Stations of the Cross—the events from Pilate’s condemnation of Jesus to His Crucifixion—particularly offers us a moment of solemnity and challenges us to live the Gospel more fully.
With this in mind, the St. Thomas the Apostle Youth Group and its student-run choir hosted a “living Stations of the Cross” at the parish in West Hempstead this past Friday night (March 23).
Many of the student volunteers who helped organize and performed during the service came from Chaminade, as well as Long Island’s other Marianist high school, Kellenberg. Sophomore, junior, and senior Flyers—several of whom also teach PREP at St. Thomas—put their best efforts into portraying Jesus’ selfless suffering and death.
St. Thomas’ Youth Minister Bridget Jordan expressed her gratitude for all their assistance, saying, “We most certainly couldn’t have done this without the dedication of the young Chaminade men who volunteered their time and talents to make a spectacular and unique representation of Jesus’ final hours come to life…I honestly don’t know what I would do without them all!”
The event, which was unlike anything the community of St. Thomas had seen before, featured silhouette depictions of the 14 major steps in Christ’s walk to Calvary and other special effects. Actors stood behind a white screen in such a way that only their shadows would appear visible as they represented our Lord and the other figures in His story. Practically speaking, this was an efficient way to magnify each station for a larger crowd, but it also lent an exciting twist to the conventional practice.
Each station also included scriptural readings and reflections, which related the Passion to relevant social justice issues. Time for prayer was given between each station, and the musicians performed a mix of traditional tunes like “Were You There” and more contemporary Christian music, such as Hillsong UNITED’s “Lead Me to the Cross” during that time.
“I find singing with the church a great way to explore new parts of my faith and to further my passion for service,” said Piero Salas-Allende ’18, a member of the youth ensemble.
“[The event] was such a beautiful way to lead into Holy Week, allowing my friends and I to relay the message of Jesus’ journey to the Cross in a new and creative way,” added Dan Leno ’17.
The Chaminade graduate, who has helped build up St. Thomas’ new youth choir which is present each week at the 6 p.m. Sunday Mass, took on a central role in organizing this first-time service. From setting up equipment on the technical end to playing the guitar, his efforts ensured that his fellow parishioners were in for a treat.
Participants certainly gained a lot out of the experience, too—both in terms of their Lenten devotions and their relationships with each other.
“This Lent, I have been trying to be more actively involved in practicing my faith, so it was a great opportunity to be able to help put on the Stations of the Cross at St. Thomas,” explained John Michael Magloire ’18.
Dan added, “I feel like I’ve grown deeper in my faith from planning the service out to praying alongside everyone Friday night; hopefully, all who attended have taken the same rewards away.”
While this is a first for St. Thomas and its expanding Youth Group, everyone involved is excited to see what else lies ahead, whether it be another special prayer service, new volunteer projects, or even more musicians at Mass!
For more information on how to join your classmates and get involved with the St. Thomas Youth Group or choir, contact Nicholas Plante at 18698NP@chaminade-hs.org.
St. Thomas the Apostle Church is located at 12 Westminster Rd., West Hempstead.