Hispanic community’s Passion play transcends language barriers

HILTON HEAD — Fernando Gonzalez and a small army of volunteers undertook the herculean task of paying tribute to the final hours of Jesus Christ’s life here on earth.

It took three months of rehearsals, but the CCD teacher for Hispanic youth at Holy Family Church, and over 60 devoted participants, presented a Spanish-language Passion play April 5.

Lynn Bruder, director of religious education at Holy Family, said at least 300 spectators attended the hour-long event. The audience was visibly moved by the universal message despite language differences, she said.

Eleanor Krebbs, a member of Holy Family, was tearful.

“It was absolutely incredible,” she told The Miscellany in a telephone interview. “All of the participants were so genuine it was as if they were really living their parts and not just staging a re-enactment. It was very touching.”

While the play was successful, putting it together was not easy or inexpensive. Bruder said the church’s Hispanic youth held several fundraisers, such as selling food along a parade route on St. Patrick’s Day and collecting donations after Masses.

In addition to monetary and material contributions, volunteers spent long hours sewing costumes, building the four intricate sets and rehearsing, she said.

José Mario Gonzalez, a 14-year-old student from Hilton Head Island Middle School, accepted the weighty role of  Jesus. The actors were accompanied by a cellist and a saxophone player.

Father Robert Morey, administrator, said he was proud of everyone involved in the production.

“It was truly an inspiring act of love and devotion by the Spanish community,” he told The Miscellany.

Bruder said the group hopes this will become an annual Easter tradition at Holy Family. Next year, they will attempt to stage the play in Spanish and English, she said.