BATS member Angel Mihlon portrays Jesus during the Living Stations performed by the youth ministry of St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville. Courtesy photo
BATS member Angel Mihlon portrays Jesus during the Living Stations performed by the youth ministry of St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville. Courtesy photo

By Jennifer Mauro | Managing Editor

For those who have never seen St. Barnabas Parish’s annual Living Stations, the church is plunged into darkness as a reflection is read over the loudspeaker. Then, music comes forth, and a spotlight illuminates the Station being portrayed.

The actors, members of the Bayville parish’s youth ministry, stand frozen in place, searing into the viewers’ minds dramatic images of Jesus’ last moments.

And though the young people may be standing stock-still, the legacy of the production continues to move on because Good Friday, April 19, marked the re-enactment’s 20th year at the parish.

“It’s not a play that we’re putting on,” said Kayleigh Soucy, 20, a former member of the BATS youth ministry. “We’re trying to portray the Stations so other people can be a part of a prayerful, meditative experience to get closer to Jesus.”

Soucy is just one of many former BATS who continue to be involved in the youth ministry as leaders or volunteers and the Living Stations.

“I’m still a part of what they’re doing without being on stage,” said Soucy, who has helped with lighting for the past six years. “Being a part of BATS – or any youth group – is like a family. Because you all share the same faith, it keeps you all together.”

Youth ministry coordinator Tim Blumensteel said the fact that so many alumni continue to be part of the Living Stations – or come to watch – speaks volumes. 

“It’s pride on their part that they were in it in the past, and they want to see its success now and into the future,” he said.

That legacy is growing, as this year, the parish’s new junior youth group BAM – Barnabas Adolescent Ministry – was involved. Plus, it was announced after Living Stations that a young adult group – Disciples Reaching in Faith Together – is being formed.

Over the 20 years, Living Stations has gone through changes, including increased involvement and upgraded props, sets and costumes. For the first time, this year’s production featured “blood” and more “sweat” upon Jesus, who was played by BATS member Angel Mihlon.

Senior Nichole Craig – who is in her fourth year in BATS and portrayed Jesus’ mother, Mary – lent her artist skills, painting the “blood” and creating an image of Christ on a cloth representing Veronica’s Veil.

Hannah Dalton, who portrayed Veronica, explained that everyone involved – from acting to set design – has been working together on the production since January.

“You get closer to everyone, practicing three to four months, twice a week,” said Dalton, who is in her third year with the BATS. Living Stations “makes you realize how fortunate you are and how much God did for you and how much he loves you.”

Trinity O’Neill, a seventh-grader in BAM who’s older sister is a BATS alumna, agreed.

“I did think about the [Good Friday] story, but I didn’t think about it as deep as I do now,” said O’Neill, who took on the role as a weeping woman.

Soucy was reflective as she discussed the legacy of BATS and the 20 years of Living Stations. “It shows that even though things change, Church is always still there. Even though I don’t go to youth group anymore, I’m still part of the faith family.”