The Pietà Project was created by our Community Life Minister, Jasmin O'Brian, during the pandemic. Photographs were taken by Rob Jirucha. Jasmin describes the project below:
The image of Mary holding her dead son, Jesus, after he has been taken down from the cross, can be found in many paintings and sculptures. The pietà (Latin for compassion) captures a moment of incredible pain, loss of all hope, absolute tenderness, endless suffering. We can stand to look at this moment because we know that it is not the end: Jesus overcomes death and is the Hope for all people. But Mary at this moment does not know; the suffering of Mary is part of all the suffering Jesus takes upon himself in the passion. Every Lent and Easter the Church remembers the great mystery of Easter and “re-lives” the passion together: in prayer, worship and sacrament. Our sacramental, incarnational faith means that we learn about God and experience the presence of God in and through our bodies, most obviously in the act of eating the Eucharist meal.
Because of the restrictions due to the Pandemic, this physical, sacramental expression of our faith has been taken away. With the Pietà Project, we therefore wanted to experiment with a different incarnational way of entering into the mystery of Easter.
In recent years I had been working with “Constellations,” or tableaux, wherein groups of people physically assume the position/constellation of a religious painting: the lamentation, the healing of the sick, or the descent from the cross. This has been a powerful and profound way of “understanding” scripture.
For the Pietà Project I asked parents of St. Barnabas and their children to assume the position of Mary holding her dead son Jesus while Rob took pictures for the exhibition.