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March 30, 2023 — There’s nothing better than the Easter Triduum — from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday through the bitter, heavy celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday to the unparalleled drama of the Easter fire and baptizing new Christians at the Vigil on Saturday night. The one big danger this time of year: We’ve heard the stories of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection so many times now that it’s easy for them to go in one ear and out the other. To paraphrase the words of T.S. Eliot, we might have the experience but miss the meaning. Sometimes, approaching a familiar story like the Passion in a new way can make all the difference. And today’s guest has just released a new musical project that does just that.

J.J. Wright is a composer, pianist and director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir. This Lent season, J.J. and the Folk Choir, in collaboration with professional musicians, writers and producers, released “The Passion.” The project is a 95-minute, fully–staged production that depicts the disciples on Holy Saturday as they retell the events of Jesus’ last days, from the anointing at Bethany to Golgotha. Using contemporary musical forms to get into the story in a new way really made host Mike Jordan Laskey pray and reflect with the Passion narratives with new depth and attention. Now Notre Dame isn’t a Jesuit university, of course, but the project is an extremely powerful example of Ignatian imaginative prayer: The work does a great job of really bringing you into the scene yourself.

Mike asked J.J. about how the work came to be and how putting together something so huge and ambitious affected the way J.J. hears the Passion story himself. You’ll hear some of the music included in the episode during our conversation. Y

Additional Resources

AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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