REGINA — It ended on a hill, not unlike Golgotha, where they hanged him from a cross after parading him to various Regina landmarks. “They” are Grade 8 students from Deshaye and St. Dominic Catholic schools and their teachers who re-enacted the route Christ was taken on, on his journey to the cross. It began at 1 p.m. and ended about 3:00. March 23 on the hill at the east end of Wascana Lake.
They began in the parking lot of Holy Rosary Cathedral and followed a five-kilometre route, stopping at Regina landmarks: Holy Rosary Cathedral, the Catholic School Board building, First Presbyterian Church, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, historic buildings on College Ave., the CBC building, then through Wascana Park to the hill near Douglas Park games fields. There the crucifixion was re-enacted by nailing St. Dominic student Liam Harding to the cross. Huge nails were hammered between Harding‘s fingers, enabling him to hang on when the cross was raised.
The entire route was walked on sidewalks, so no permit was required from the police. Meyers introduced each station, followed by a reading from one of the students, though school trustee Gerald Kleisinger read the prayer at the first two stops. The group attracted a lot of attention, most noticeably at the museum on the corner of Albert St. and College Ave., one of the city’s busiest intersections.
A few people on the hill, runners or walkers who were enjoying the view, stopped to watch when they realized what was happening. Miles Meyers, co-ordinator for religious education for the Regina Catholic School Board, said he was impressed when the people appeared to give some reverence to the students’ activity.
After the cross was raised, Deshaye Grade 8 student Sam Stawarz played Were You There on his violin with the students singing along. “It was quite emotional,” said Meyers.
Harding was limp when they removed him from the cross. A sheet was placed over him and reverently he was carried off. When it was done, school buses returned the students to their respective schools.
The idea for the re-enaction came from Matt Bresciani, a Grade 8 teacher at Deshaye, and Rob Csaba, a Grade 8 teacher at St. Dominic. The two were meeting with Meyers, discussing a retreat, when the idea was discussed and agreed to. “This is the first time we’ve done this,” said Meyers. It came off so well that it may become an annual event.
The students’ re-enactment may be the only Stations of the Cross to be performed this year. What had become an annual Stations of the Cross held Good Friday through downtown Regina did not happen this year.