Diocesan priests to lead European trip, including Oberammergau Passion Play
Once every 10 years, as each new decade begins, some 2,000 local residents of the little Bavarian town of Oberammergau come together to present the Passion Play, a dramatic recreation of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection.
First produced nearly four centuries ago, Germany’s world renowned Passion Play has become a beloved highlight of every decade that has been witnessed by thousands of people from across the globe.
In 2020, an opportunity for faithful from the Diocese of Trenton to travel with seven priests of the Diocese and witness the traditional Passion Play as part of a 10-day European trip is being made available through Graycar Travel Agency, Hamilton, June 7-16.
The idea for informing the people of the Diocese about the cruise came at the initiative of Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who “thought the river cruise” would be a way for them to experience the Passion Play and the history and beauty along the Danube, according to Father Jeffrey E. Lee, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck, and diocesan director of pilgrimages.
The tour will begin with a two-day visit to Oberammergau followed by a six-night Classic Danube River Cruise with stops to Munich, Passau, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.
Along with Father Lee, other priests who are scheduled to participate in the river cruise are Msgr. Sam Sirianni, rector of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, and his brother, Father Anthony Sirianni of the Diocese of Metuchen; Msgr. Thomas Gervasio, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the curia; Father Garry Koch, pastor, St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel; Trinitarian Father Gerard Lynch, pastor, St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, and Father Michael Hall, pastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Ewing, and director of the diocesan Office of Worship.
The history of the Oberammergau Passion Play dates back to the middle of the Thirty Years War. In 1633, after months of suffering from the bubonic plague, the people of Oberammergau vowed to present the Passion Play every 10 years if they were spared. It is reported that not one person fell victim to the plague after the promise. Since 1634, the people have fulfilled their pledge, almost without any interruption and continued the tradition for more than 380 years.
Details on the trip will be available at the following information sessions to be held in parishes around the Diocese:
Feb. 12, 7 p.m., St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, 61 Georgia Rd., Freehold;
Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m., St. Ann Parish, 1253 Lawrence Rd., Lawrenceville;
Feb. 22, 7 p.m., St. Mary Parish, 1 Phalanx Rd., Colts Neck.
In addition, an online presentation will be held Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. at https://gateway.gocollete.com/link/853200.