South Jersey Parish Hosts Mystery Players

HNP Communications Around the Province

CAMDEN, N.J. — St. Anthony of Padua Church here welcomed a group of Franciscan Mystery Players from nearby Blackwood earlier this month to present a Lenten meditation on “Jesus the Healer.”

The March 5 event was attended by more than 150 community members, said Mandi Aviles, St. Anthony’s director of youth ministry. Jud Weiksnar, OFM, pastor of the parish, said friars from Wilmington, Del., traveled to Camden for the performance. Among them were Ronald Pecci, OFM, and novicesGerald Hopeck, OFM, and Michael Reyes, OFM.

fmp-rAviles said the parish “looks forward to welcoming the Mystery Players back next year.”

A group based at St. Catherine of Siena in Morris County, N.J., was slated to present “The Way of the Cross” at St. Mary Church in Pompton Lakes, N.J., where Kevin Downey, OFM, is pastor; however, the Feb. 26 event was canceled due to snow.

The Franciscan Mystery Players were founded more than 30 years ago by Francis Pompei, OFM, of Buffalo. There are 11 active groups of players in California, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. In April 2009, 140 members from seven groups traveled to Kearny, N.J., for a first-ever gathering.

St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Greenville, S.C., has also hosted a Franciscan Mystery Play.