Fathers, sons make Stations of the Cross come alive

St. Joseph students portray the same roles as their dads in the Passion during Holy Week re-enactments

By Bill Brewer

The living Stations of the Cross and Passion, which are held in several Diocese of Knoxville parishes during Holy Week, had an especially familial flavor this year.

As Jorge Quiroz portrayed Jesus and Enrique Fraire played a Roman soldier during the Living Stations and Passion on Good Friday at Holy Ghost Church, Mr. Quiroz’s son, Jose, was portraying Jesus during a similar service at St. Joseph School on Holy Thursday, and Mr. Fraire’s son, Bryan, played a Roman soldier in the school’s service.

The parallel pathos left an indelible impression on the four who re-enacted the Passion.

Mr. Quiroz, who has been taking part in the Holy Ghost service for about four years, said he and his son shared a joy in portraying Jesus and in bringing His story to life.

“You feel like you are Jesus. It’s just something you feel. It is somber, but you are moved to do it, and you are inspired,” Mr. Quiroz said.

Mr. Quiroz has noticed a change in his son since the Living Stations and Passion were held at St. Joseph.

“He was so happy. He didn’t know what to expect, but it has changed his life a little bit. He wants to be better with his brothers,” said the father. “It was moving for Jose. He understands more about Jesus’ life now. He was a little frightened at first, but he would like to do it again.”

Father Michael Hendershott leads the living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at Holy Ghost Church.

Jose Quiroz wasn’t the only one in the family who was pleased with the performance.

“My wife was real happy and excited,” Mr. Quiroz said, describing how his wife reacted to her husband and son playing identical roles in the Living Stations of the Cross. “My two children were excited, too, but one of my kids, who is 3, was frightened when he saw Jesus being tortured.”

Mr. and Mrs. Quiroz’s two older sons, Jose, 10, and Pedro, 7, attend St. Joseph.

And as for Mr. Quiroz, he also would like to give a repeat performance in 2018.

“We can do it again next year. I would like to do it again. I feel like what we were doing was very real. You can see what Jesus’ life was like,” he said.

As a Roman guard in the Holy Ghost Living Stations and Passion, Mr. Fraire was caught off guard by his son’s portrayal of the same character in the St. Joseph Living Stations and Passion.

“I was asked to take part, but I wasn’t planning on it. They needed my help,” Mr. Fraire said. “It surprised me that Bryan did the same thing.”

“My wife wanted Bryan to do it. He at first said no, but he changed his mind. It was good for him to do it.”

Mr. Fraire is volunteering to give a repeat performance next year if he is needed. And if he does, it would be his fourth year to participate. He also would like Bryan to give a repeat performance.

Andy Zengel, principal of St. Joseph School, is heartened to see students take part in such an important story about Jesus.

“At St. Joseph School, it is vital for our younger students to see the older ones taking their faith seriously. It certainly brings the Stations to a whole new level of prayer for our little ones. Earlier in Lent, our eighth-graders took on that leadership role with an outdoor Living Stations of the Cross,” Mr. Zengel said.

He noted how important it is for adults like Mr. Quiroz and Mr. Fraire to live their faith.

“Numerous studies have shown that the more faithful adults a child has in their life, the more likely they are to live a sacramental life in the Church when they grow up. Pope Paul VI wrote in Evangelii Nuntiandi, ‘modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.’ I am so glad that the students in our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Knoxville have such witnesses,” he said.

Participants and observers take part in the Passion at Holy Ghost Church on Good Friday.

Mr. Zengel applauded all participants in the Living Stations and Passion for their efforts.

“The boys and all their classmates did a wonderful job. In fact, their teacher, Mrs. Mollie Krueger, was absent from school that day since her daughter had recently been in the hospital. I believe the students wanted to give their best, not only to our Lord, but for their teacher — a ‘win one for the Gipper’ mentality,”

Mr. Zengel said. “Bryan, who played the soldier, said, ‘I felt fine about it, but I forgot just one thing — I was supposed to grab Jesus’ arm when they were going to crucify him.’ Jose said, ‘I felt good because I was doing something for Jesus.’”

The “blessed coincidence” was not lost on Mr. Zengel or Deacon Scott Maentz of Holy Ghost Parish, who photographed the Good Friday service.

“Bryan related that he volunteered to portray the soldier. Jose was chosen by Mrs. Krueger because ‘she knew I would be serious.’ I was standing backstage with our fourth-graders during their Living Stations. Jose and Bryan walked past me 14 times,” Mr. Zengel said.

“I attended the Living Stations at Holy Ghost on Good Friday with my family and was happy to see many of our St. Joseph School families involved. It wasn’t until I was reviewing photos of our fourth-graders for our school newsletter that I made the connection. When I asked Deacon Scott Maentz to share his photos from Good Friday, I think he saw the divine intervention right away. He wrote, ‘what a blessed coincidence!’”

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