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  • Jan
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Blessed Sacrament gets Epiphany gift

Posted By January 9, 2015 | 6:18 pm | Lead Story #3
Photo by Tanya Connor
Logan Kiley, playing King Gaspar, smiles as he holds the frankincense he brought to Baby Jesus during the Epiphany pageant at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Worcester Sunday.
Photo by Tanya Connor Logan Kiley, playing King Gaspar, smiles as he holds the frankincense he brought to Baby Jesus during the Epiphany pageant at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Worcester Sunday.

By Tanya Connor

WORCESTER – It was partly about giving gifts to Jesus. In addition to the kings’ gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, there was an apple (inspired by a stained glass window in the church) and bows of respect (to educate the actors).
But the “Gifts to a King Sing-Along Pageant” at Blessed Sacrament Parish on Sunday also was a gift to the parish.
The pageant was presented by the religious education, music and Mass greeter ministries, according to pageant coordinator Carol Rutkiewicz.
Playing a role or reading for the pageant, or singing in the children’s choir that accompanied it, gave parishioners in public schools a chance to present Jesus’ birth. And it gave parishioners who attend Catholic schools or are home-schooled a chance to do something at church with their peers.
“This makes them part of it,” Mrs. Rutkiewicz explained. “They have their Catholic church as part of their community.”
Mrs. Rutkiewicz, who teaches fifth-grade religious education, said she misses attending Christmas presentations about Christ. Public schools, which her grandchildren attend, have only “holiday” programs.
But she’s no stranger to Christmas pageants, having coordinated some at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, where she taught religious education classes for 31 years.
This is her second year coordinating a pageant at Blessed Sacrament, which she joined after St. Andrew’s became a mission of St. Peter Parish, she said. She said her pastor, Father Chester J. Misiewicz, suggested presenting the pageant on Epiphany, when people are less busy than at Christmas.
Last year, when the weather was better, the church was full for the pageant, she said. This year, despite snowy and slippery roads, all the actors came, she said.
The adults really appreciated the pageant, and Mrs. Rutkiewicz thinks it was partly because they, like her, miss seeing such productions in the public schools.
A couple of her grandchildren, who are not members of Blessed Sacrament, teased that they wanted to be trees, which she didn’t have in the pageant, she said. So they watched.
The congregation was asked to sing Christmas songs with the children’s choir as each grouping of costumed youth processed up the aisle, bowed and took their places in front of the altar.
Mrs. Rutkiewicz said they were to bow before the crucifix and before Mary and Baby Jesus, “so they connect that this baby who’s born now is the man who’s going to die for our sins and forgiveness.” (She said she emphasizes that the children too are to forgive others.)
Myles Kiley, clad like a child in the church’s stained glass window of the nativity, brought Baby Jesus a piece of fruit, as the child in the window is doing.
Gabriel Cain, a teenager, played the guitar, accompanied on the piano by Elizabeth Noone, director of music. Some students were narrators or other readers, altar servers or greeters.
Leigh Porcaro wrapped up the pageant with these words: “Wise men, wise woman and wise children still seek for Jesus. We don’t need a map or an iPhone or even a star to help us find Jesus. We can find our way to Jesus by our faith and living our lives according to his teachings. The Bible is our map, iPhone and our star, that will always lead us to Jesus.”
Mrs. Rutkiewicz said she thought the youth enjoyed the pageant as much as she did. Interviews with sixth-grade actors in the religious education program suggested she might be right.
“We had to rehearse a lot and we got parts,” said Maggie O’Dea, 11. “I was the star. It’s cool.”
“It was really cool seeing how the kings and shepherds … acted and dressed,” said Tom Murray, 12. He said he was chosen to be a king and picked out his costume from those available.
“Mrs. Rutkiewicz is a really fun teacher,” said Catherine Reidy, 11, who played an angel. “She’s really fun to practice with because sometimes it can be boring, but she makes it fun.” (For example, she jokes and gives them candy.)
“Mrs. Rutkiewicz is, like, one of the best teachers,” said Matthew Ober, 12, the myrrh-bearing king. “She just makes it fun.” They didn’t just sit around reading books in class; they watched movies, he said. And the pageant was “just entertaining, instead of just sitting around.”
What did he learn from it?
“Not everything is more important than church,” he replied.
Father Misiewicz clapped at the end of the pageant, which was presented during the homily time, and told the children that “we don’t usually applaud after homilies,” but that they did a wonderful job deepening people’s appreciation of Epiphany.
He thanked the adults working with them, “and all of you for coming to support them with your presence and your prayers.”