Passion play in Polish debuts in Dudley parish
By Tanya Connor
DUDLEY – Exciting.
A way to draw closer to God, to contribute, to get involved in the community.
These were among comments actors made about the Passion play they put on in Polish during Palm Sunday Mass at St. Andrew Bobola Parish.
Father Krzysztof Korcz, who became pastor here last July, said this was the first time he did this play here. He said he did it for seven years at Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Worcester, when he was associate pastor there. It wasn’t easy to do it at St. Andrew’s, since he’s new, he said.
“I am very proud because I see how wonderful they are,” he said of the actors, most of them his parishioners, after they finished the play March 29. “They have many talents. They did this for the glory of God, but also they lifted up the spirits of parishioners.” (He was an actor too; he played Jesus.)
He said it was “a special grace for all of us … (to) see that we are very valuable members of this church. … We see … how our faith can be action. … You see how many ways you can be active.”
Seeing the involvement of young people – the Church’s future – encourages him to do more for his people and for God’s glory, he said.
“He’s very active so I believe he will do a lot of things … here,” Ewa Zielinski said of Father Korcz. She helped direct the play at St. Andrew’s, where she is now a member, and at Our Lady of Czestochowa, when she belonged to that parish. She said everybody involved helped improve the play and cared about doing well, she said.
It didn’t start out so smoothly, though, actors said.
There were only five people and Father Korcz at the first practice, said St. Andrew’s parishioner Aleksander Wasilewski, who played Pilate for the first time this year. (He was a soldier or apostle different years in the play at Our Lady of Czestochowa, which he used to attend.)
“We didn’t have St. Peter,” said St. Andrew’s parishioner Marcin Kicilinski, who played Judas. So he suggested that his brother, Piotr (Peter in Polish), volunteer. Piotr Kicilinski was reluctant, but Father Korcz told him he had to do it, the brothers said. But after the play Piotr Kicilinski said, “I’m very proud of how everything turned out and I’m very glad that everyone got together.” He said he’d do it again.
He wasn’t the only one who got his arm twisted by Father Korcz.
“He forced me – almost,” Father Gregory Zielinski said good-naturedly. “He announced in public that I will be an actor.” (Father Zielinski, who played the “good thief,” knew Father Korcz in Poland and has helped at St. Andrew’s while studying here.) In Poland they sometimes do Passion plays, and it’s good that they started it at St. Andrew’s, Father Zielinski said.
“This is a wonderful day to unite people at this parish and make them happy,” he said.
Did the play, which had just ended, do that?
“It was very moving today at the Mass,” said David Bugajski, St. Andrew’s religious education director, who played the disciple John. “It was beautiful to see it all come together.” He said there was a sense of community; with the practices actors got to know each other better and “got to show their love for Jesus.”
“For Lent I wanted to do something to make me closer to God,” Jessica Sudyka, 19, of St. Joseph Basilica in Webster, said before a dress rehearsal. (She played one of the women in the crowd.) “It’s like a short version of what happened” to Jesus, and acting that out makes it easier to understand.
Aneta Czyz, 12, also from St. Joseph’s, the Polish parish in the next town, said she volunteered to be in the play “to get involved in the community.”
“I like it,”” said her sister Sylwia, 16. “It’s a nice way to contribute to the church.”
By watching the play “the kids (and adults) will understand more the whole concept …,” Aneta said. “… of what Christ did for us,” added Sylwia. (Both played women in the crowd.)
Before the dress rehearsal Agnieszka Plewa said she and her family were acting in the play because she was so excited – something was happening at the parish she’s belonged to for 14 years.
“This is the most exciting thing the community is getting into,” she said. (She and her daughter Renata, 5, were to play women; her husband, Marcin, and son, Wojciech, 8, were to play disciples.)
She pointed out that another of “the women,” fellow-parishioner Brittany Warrington, 15, participated even though she didn’t understand Polish, the language used for the play. Brittany, who didn’t have any lines, said it was “confusing … but fun.”
Wojciech had fun too, he said after the play.
“The play was so spiritual and emotional,” Mrs. Plewa said afterwards. “I was so proud going back and playing what really happened.”