“Seven Last Words” Brings Christ’s Passion to Life at Saint Mary Mokena

Saint Augustine once said that a single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is “worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.”

There were plenty of tears shed, and hearts moved, at the “Seven Last Words of Christ” Passion Play at Saint Mary Mokena on March 23rd, produced by Simonetta L. Pacek of Little Flowers Troupe. The 90-minute performance brought Christ’s Passion to life in a very beautiful, yet realistically graphic, manner. Scott Hansen reprised the role of Jesus, while Mary Pacek played the Blessed Mother.

From flashbacks to Christ’s youth, to the Last Supper, to His bitter Agony in the Garden and, of course, His suffering and crucifixion on Calvary, the “Seven Last Words” presented these scenes with often brutal honesty, conveying the gravity of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

The actors performed to chillingly-moving music—the works of Theodore Dubois, J. S. Bach and others—produced by a 50-member choir conducted by Anna Pacek, professional soloists (Simonetta M. Pacek, Andrea Cosenza, Trevor Mitchell and Michael Bultman) and live orchestra. Approximately 900 people from various parishes, towns and counties attended the performance, which has previously been presented at numerous venues, including St. Jude in New Lenox, Nativity BVM in Chicago, Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palos Heights, St. Michael in Wheaton, among others.

Let the pictures and testimonials from this exceptional performance speak for themselves:

Seven Last Words of Christ at St. Mary
The Blessed Mother (Mary Pacek) comforts the child Jesus (Finn Gedmin) during a flashback scene (left). An angel (Maria McCague) weeps in the prison where Jesus was mocked and humiliated by the Roman soldiers (right).

“While acting, it felt like we were all living during Christ’s time. The music elevated the whole experience because it set the tone of the entire performance. It felt great at the end–as if we had turned many souls towards Christ.”

-Maria McCague, Actress

Seven Last Words of Christ play
The Last Supper scene as the Apostles gaze out at the audience. Jesus (Scott Hansen) is centered with Saint John (Lou Sniegowski) leaning on his shoulder.

“For an evening, I get to live like Jesus more literally than one can imagine. I get to experience His joy, His pain, His heartache…His Passion. I pray that this experience blesses those in attendance as much as it has blessed me over the past ten years”

-Scott Hansen, Jesus

Seven Last words of Christ performance
The Forgiven Woman (Victoria Dinaso) kneels at Jesus’ feet after washing them during the “O Divine Redeemer” scene.

I was most impressed by the casting, acting, directing, music and professionalism of the production. From the smallest angel to Christ on the cross and the beautiful sacred music, it was a most memorable evening.

-Martha Fahey, Audience

Seven Last Words of Christ play Mokena
The angry mob shouts “Crucify Him!” as Jesus is condemned to death by Pontius Pilate.

It was a moving and emotional performance. It really enhanced my Lenten experience!

-Ted Kopczynksi, Audience

Seven Last Words Passion play
The Roman soldiers (Matt Pakosz, Tony Bara and John Pacek) mock Jesus during the prison scene (left). St. Simon (Jeff Sniegowski) helps Jesus carry the cross (right).

“It was an honor to be a part of this proud Catholic acting group; while trying to show the beautiful love of our Lord, to a most welcoming parish.”

-David Stanton, Actor

Seven Last Words of Christ at Saint Mary Mokena
The Blessed Mother holds Christ’s lifeless body after it is taken down from the cross.

“It was a pleasure being a part of 7LW! It was a challenge and an opportunity for growth, both musically and spiritually. The lyrics in the different pieces have a meditative quality, and when they are coupled with the actors and music, it makes for a very poignant and moving performance.”

-Ray Kay, Tenor

Seven Last Words of Christ Choir
The choir members who provided the beautiful music so necessary to a play without any words.

“The Seven Last Words Performance was a moving depiction of Christ’s Passion. The images were ingrained in my heart, mind and soul. It was like looking at a great old master religious painting. Great high art! For days following the performance I saw the face of Christ as I prayed everywhere. The suffering Christ. The music was stunningly beautiful! Such amazing and talented singers and orchestra and choir.  Many thanks to all the actors, singers, musicians and army of volunteers that made this event happen. This performance was for the greater glory of God, and brought the Gospel to life.”

-Father Dindo Billote, Pastor of St. Mary Mokena

 

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