A central part of the Liturgical Life of Newcastle West and Desmond College is the re-enactment of the carrying of the cross, which takes place each Good Friday and which is now in its 8th year.
Under the stewardship of Sean Shields, and with the support of students, teachers, Fr. Duhig and the local clergy, this event draws huge crowds from the West Limerick area each year, despite the sometimes unkind weather.
The event continues to be breathtakingly realistic and provides truly memorable and haunting images for all those who attend.
In recent years, scenes from the event have been photographed by the national daily newspapers and the 2011 event was no different, with TG4 filming the re-enactment and other stations filming on other years.
There was a huge upgrade in the realism of costumes worn by the soldiers in 2011. Sean spent hours designing and making costumes to add a further depth of accuracy to the event.
We would like to pay tribute to Ms. Edel Boohan who gave of her time and talent in helping Sean to produce the garments to such a high standard and to Mr. Tom Byrne who made the brooches worn by the soldiers.
This year, as every other year, a number of students were individually chosen to perform as soldiers. Their participation and attitude made this event so special, as it was heart-warming to see such fine young men happy to be involved in a religious event in such a public forum.
The respect and sensitivity on the day shown by the boys, was truly admirable and is a tribute to their school and families.
We, as every year, are sincerely proud of them.
Our soldiers in 2011 year were: Kevin O’Connor, Danny O’Shaughnessy, Michael Costello, Shane Brosnan, Jamie Byrnes, Killian Hough, Shaun Mullane, Kevin Sheehan, Mossie Shine, Daithi Nolan and Daniel Cremin.
We must also thank Legion Ireland, a Roman re-enactment society, and Brian Smith, who join us each year to play an essential and pivotal role on the day. Brian, who played the part of Jesus, gave a stunning performance, as did the other members of our team, Monica Kolakowski, Anna Soltys, Lukasz Kolakowska, Fiona Connelly and other PLC Art students who played various characters in the portrayal of the last precious hours in the life of Jesus.
I must thank the committee who took responsibility for the smooth running of events – Kate Liston, Carol Liston, Helen Barry, Kerrie Collins, Margaret O’Mahony, Sinead Broderick, Claire Sheehan and Damian Culhane.
It was wonderful to see so many local people turn out to support this re-enactment by following with the procession through the town, from Churchtown to the Church, in order to participate in the Good Friday ceremonies.
In a very busy and fast moving world, it is uplifting to see people still take the time to walk in the footsteps of their Christ.