Blood, sweat and tears as faithful return
GRIEVANCES were laid aside. Thousands of people in parishes the length and breadth of the country, for a few hours at least, escaped the horrific revelations of abuse that are ricocheting through the Catholic Church.
They returned to the true meaning of the Easter celebrations.
The trials and tribulations of Jesus of Nazareth -- the devastating betrayal and the horrific brutality of his crucifixion were re-enacted for all to see.
On the streets of Co Limerick, there was blood, sweat and tears shed as people returned to the traditions of their faith.
Hundreds of people braved the inclement weather to watch the traditional story of Easter unfold in colourful detail as the Good Friday stations of the cross took place in Newcastlewest.
Onlookers watched Chris Briter take on the role of Simon as he helped Jesus (Brian Smith) carry the heavy cross .
Sean Shiels, from the Legion Ireland Roman Historical Re-enactment Society, walked along behind with a whip in hand as they walked the streets of the town. "Passion plays have their origins in the Middle Ages and offer a unique evangelistic opportunity to present the Gospel in a very real and tangible way," explained Reverend David McDonnell, curate of the Christ Church Cathedral group of parishes.
For several weeks, the cast and crew of 20 actors and volunteers from St Werburgh's parish in Dublin have been rehearsing their dramatisation of the final hours of Jesus before he is nailed to the cross.
And, yesterday, they attracted a crowd of hundreds as passers-by became caught up in the unfolding drama and couldn't resist following the procession as it wound through the streets of the capital before beholding the dramatic crucifixion in the grounds of Dublin Castle. The antics of the actors and church members extended out into the onlookers, as some cast donned traditional vestments to mingle in the crowds.
Myles Gutkin received the crown of thorns as he took on the role of Jesus in the Passion play choreographed by PhD drama graduate Ruth de Palileo for the parish.
"This is a story which is ancient, and yet is as relevant here in modern day Dublin, as it was the first day it was told in ancient Jerusalem," Reverend McDonnell said.
Elsewhere in the capital, many people took a seat in Dublin's Unitarian Church on St Stephen's Green.
Others simply popped in for a minute to pay their respects and continued on their journey.
Over three hours, all the names of more than 3,500 people who died as a result of conflict in the North were read out from the pulpit.