Long-running production in St. Francis brings Holy Week to life

“Journey with Jesus to Calvary,” a play depicting the story of Jesus’ passion and resurrection, returns to St. Francis of Assisi Church in St. Francis, for its 14th annual production.

The play was written by St. Francis of Assisi parishioner Jane Keppers in 2009. She hoped to bring the story of Holy Week to life for the children in religious education programs.

“We’ve put a lot of time into the costumes. When they were originally created, we did a lot of research,” Keppers said.

Those involved in the initial planning encouraged it be open to the entire parish.

Actors portray disciples praying at the tomb. (Photo submitted)

Bob Theisen, who took over directing from Keppers six years ago, has participated since its beginning.

“Every year we have added a little bit and gotten better at what we do,” he said.

The play has grown. Some years, as many as 60 people participate, which includes cast members from kindergarteners to parishioners in their eighties. Many act in the program year after year.

“Kids try to find time to participate even though they are busy with their own schedules,” Theisen said. “Some started in the role of a sheep as a kindergartener and later take on one of the 10 main speaking roles.”

This year, the production, appropriate for all ages, runs on March 20, 22, 23 and 24 and lasts approximately 90 minutes. A free-will offering will be taken to benefit parish programs.

“I think people will be surprised if they come to the play,” Theisen said. “It’s not like living stations. It’s a real show and coming will help you prepare for Holy Week.”

He added, “I’ve seen people crying in church and people tell me how angry they feel when they see the scene with Jesus being mistreated by the guards. At the end, when I stand at the entrance to let people tell me what they thought, many comment they are glad they made the drive.”

If you go –

Production runs March 20 at 7 p.m., March 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m., March 24 at 1 p.m.

A gathering with refreshments will take place in the church basement after the final performance.

No reservation is required, and a free-will offering will be taken.

St. Francis of Assisi Church is located 10 miles north of Albany on Hwy. 238.


Author: Amber Walling

Leave a Reply