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RIVERSIDE—The youth of St. Thomas the Apostle, Riverside brought back the Passion Experience this year, the reenactment of the Palm Sunday Gospel which has been a parish tradition since the 1980s.

The youth bring the lengthy Passion narrative to life, serving as actors or readers or helping with the sound effects, costumes, makeup or props. This was the first time the parish had held the Passion Experience since 2019, since it was cancelled the last two years due to COVID-19.

The Passion Experience is open to all youth grades 7-12. Many of the youth include confirmation students, who can opt to participate. The young people prepare and rehearse for the Passion Experience for nearly two months before Palm Sunday, meeting weekly for two-and-a-half hours. On Palm Sunday, they present the Passion Experience at all the parish Masses.

“It’s good that we were able to see this, not only hear it with our ears but see it with our eyes and with all our senses ... it spurs us to a deeper relationship with God,” said Father Ted Drennan, Administrator of St. Thomas, during the homily of one of the Palm Sunday Masses. “It’s a beautiful way to begin our Holy Week, and hopefully we will grow from this.”