Belmar parish presents Living Last Supper to begin Holy Week
By Carly York | Correspondent
A group of talented parishioners from St. Rose Parish, Belmar, along with several experienced actors, worked together to bring the Last Supper to life on March 18-19.
Msgr. Edward Arnister, St. Rose pastor, said that he wanted the “Living Last Supper” to be presented in order bring his parish and the community “into the spirit of Holy Week; to help us prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Mystery of the Passion.”
The program began with a trio of musicians, including Msgr. Arnister, Lisa Marie Yavarone and Greg Ryan, playing guitar and singing two familiar hymns, “We Have Been Told” and “Ubi Caritas.”
While the music was playing, each of the Twelve Apostles entered the stage and had his feet washed by Jesus, before taking his place at the table. The table scene was set to replicate the Leonardo Da Vinci’s 1494 painting of the Last Supper.
To complete the replication of the Da Vinci’s painting, play director Dave McGrath, who is an artist himself, painted landscapes in the style of Da Vinci on three large screens, which served as a backdrop for the actors at the table.
McGrath said he purposefully chose to leave the church’s statue of the Virgin Mary to the left side of the Last Supper table as “a powerful symbol of her presence in the Passion story.”
McGrath was first introduced to the “Living Last Supper” by Father Walter Quiceno, parochial vicar in St. Rose. The two first staged the play together in 2015in St. Jerome Church, West Long Branch, when Father Quiceno was serving as parochial vicar there. Because it was so enthusiastically received, Father Quiceno wanted to share it with the Belmar parish. There were well over 100 people in attendance March 18, and Msgr. Arnister said that he would like to see the play continue to be presented in St. Rose next year.
In this presentation of The Living Last Supper, director McGrath was able to produce a powerful representation of what each Apostle must have been thinking about Jesus’s betrayal during the last supper.
Chris Morano, who portrayed the Apostle John, is a student in Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. He said he was “very happy to be invited to be one of the actors in the play” because he is majoring in acting and radiology in college. He is hoping to pursue a career in acting, and he enjoyed using his talents to serve the church in this play.
Each of the Apostle’s monologues was framed by beautiful interlude music, which was composed by musician Yavarone specifically for this play. Yavarone said she used “a simple minor chord progression to frame the somber message of the play.” However, she added that she, “also included several C major chords to foreshadow the joy of the Resurrection during certain parts of the play.”
Yavarone was happy to share her talents for this play because she said, “I love this church. I have been a member of St. Rose Parish since I was 12 years old,” and her whole family is very involved in the parish.
McGrath chose “By My Side” from the musical Godspell as the final song of the play, and Msgr. Arnister joined Yavarone in singing with his 12-string guitar. Msgr. Arnister noted that he had been playing the guitar since he was in high school in Notre Dame, Lawrenceville.
“I love to play for church,” he said.[[In-content Ad]]