Jesus in jeans and a T-shirt? Women and children in contemporary clothes. It doesn’t sound like the setting of the Passion of Jesus, but that’s just the point.
At St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas, members of its Drama Ministry acted out the story of the passion, but dressed in their own clothes and presented the story of Jesus’ last hours in a modern day setting, making it all the more relevant.
The cast brought the story to life at all five Palm Sunday Masses and they will present it again on Good Friday. Different Viatorians celebrated each liturgy, including Fr. Richard Rinn, Pastor, Fr. Lawrence Lentz, Parochial Assistant, Fr. Thomas von Behren, President of Cristo Rey St. Viator, and Fr. Robert M. Egan, Superior General.
“It was very impressive and everyone at my Mass (5 p.m. on Saturday) seemed to enjoy it,” said Fr. Egan said. “I thought it was great that it included parishioners of all ages.”
Parishioner Mary Rector played the role of Mary Magdalene, who comforted Mary at the crucifixion. She described the experience as powerful.
“It brought the Passion story to life for me,” Rector said. “Setting it in modern times gave us the opportunity to question our behaviors when faced with conflict, peer pressure and grief.”
Presenting the Living Passion was a labor of love for Blaskey. This Las Vegas native brought his experience in television and movie production — he created 17 faith-based videos for Harcourt Religion — to Viatorian parishes in the Las Vegas area, nearly 25 years ago.
He calls it Drama Ministry and it includes skits seen occasionally during Mass, as well The Christmas Spirits, which combines singing Christmas carols with visiting those in the hospital and hospice facilities.
Blaskey also works with children at St. Viator School, developing school liturgies, facilitating its video team and helping to produce special events. His passion, so to speak, for bringing faith to life has not gone unnoticed.
In 2018, members of St. Viator School Foundation board honored him for providing exceptional service to the St. Viator Community.