Every year on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, Resurrection Catholic Church reenacts the last days of Jesus’ life in a powerful passion play. Prayer in the Garden, Trial and Death of Jesus Christ was written by Resurrection’s own Monsignor Diez in the late 1960’s and has been performed by the church body since 1988.
“It was a long process,” Diez explained of the two years it took him to complete the play. He wrote the play to bring awareness of Jesus’ spiritual agony and show everyone, “the infinite, unthinkable manifestation of God’s love,” he explained.
The play begins at the end of the Last Supper and continues with Jesus to the Prayer Garden during his spiritual agony. Following that is the judgment, crucifixion and finally the resurrection. Most of the play takes place outside on the church grounds.
Director since 2004 and church member since 1999, Erik Olson said, “It is a very interactive play.” With no stage, audience members are treated as part of the crowd that is witnessing Jesus’ crucifixion. Olson explained that the costumes were designed in keeping with the time’s authenticity, “to bring people to the past.” Over the years the church has seen more than 1,000 people from all over the area attend the production.
Diez explained that the actors, this year that includes more than 100 church members, do such an incredible job relaying the story they can very easily compete with any Oscar award winner. One of those participants is Doug Hawker who is entering his 27th year in the play. Hawker explained his dedication and loyalty to the play, “Number one is Diez. He wrote the play.” he said, adding, “It’s a feeling you get. It’s written in such a manner and performed in such a manner, you feel like you’re there.”  
The production will open for public on Palm Sunday, April 17, at 8 p.m. and Good Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m. Resurrection Catholic Church is located at 6819 Krycul Ave. in Riverview. For more information contact the church at 677-2175. Visit the Website www.resurrectioncatholicriverview.com.

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