Father John Pfeifer, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, welcomed parishioners and others to three performances March 25-27 of “Tetelestai,” which has been produced by Cleveland Performing Arts Ministries for more than four decades. (See photo gallery above.)
Joel and Russ Nagy created the show in 1974 to be performed by local youth as a ministry outreach. It tells the story of the trial, execution and Resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah. “Tetelestai” has become a Lenten tradition for many people. Performances are free, but a freewill offering is accepted.
“Welcome to this proclamation of the Gospel,” Father Pfeifer said.
The theatrical group erected its set in the sanctuary of the church. Dozens of cast members portray villagers, the apostles, temple vendors, the Sadducees and Pharisees, Romans and prophets in the show.
It opens with an appearance of the prophets of old. John the Baptist appears before the show shifts to a site near Jerusalem. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is portrayed as are the vendors in the temple, who are cast out by Jesus. His public ministry and growing popularity are featured as the high priests struggle with how to deal with him.
The second act begins in the Upper Room with the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of his apostles. Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane is portrayed, as is the high priests’ court. Peter’s denial in the courtyard, the transfer of Jesus from the Jewish people to the Romans in Pilate’s palace, the scourging of Jesus, Judas’ suicide, Jesus carrying his cross, his Crucifixion, burial and Resurrection complete the show.
As a gesture of thanksgiving, Father Pfeifer received a cross that was hand carved by a cast member and a giant card signed by the cast and crew.
The show will continue with three more performances in Toledo April 1-3 and three shows at Our Lady Chapel at Gilmour Academy, 8 p.m. April 8-9 and 2 p.m. April 10. Gilmour is at 2045 SOM Center Road, Gates Mills.
For more information on “Tetelestai,” click here.