The Way of the Cross: A Passion Pilgrimage Through Song – A Broadcast from Jerusalem: A Passion Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

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Featured Speakers: 

  • J.J. Wright, Director, Notre Dame Folk Choir, University of Notre Dame

The seventh and final virtual event in the Notre Dame Folk Choir’s The Way of the Cross series followed the choir from South Bend, IN, to the Holy Land. The Folk Choir’s summer pilgrimage to Jerusalem and surrounding areas allowed the artists to explore the places they have been singing and writing about for the past two years; the trip culminated with several days of recording sessions capturing the Passion performance. This event featured series moderator J.J. Wright as well as other campus and Folk Choir figures who shared their experiences on the pilgrimage. 

Before departing campus, the Folk Choir and others leaving on pilgrimage joined together at the Grotto. Wright and Fr. McCormick both led prayers, preparing the travelers for the opportunities ahead and easing whatever nervousness or apprehension might have been circulating. They prayered for safety, peace of mind, and blessings from God before the journey. 

Following their prayers stateside on campus, the event journeyed to the Holy Land. As video footage of the Sea of Galilee and the city of Jerusalem appeared on screen, students shared their reflections on what the trip or particular experiences have meant to them. Grace Murphy boldly acknowledged the growth and humility she had experienced as a new visitor to the Holy Land. Beyond walking the streets of Jerusalem with Christ, Murphy acknowledged how special it was to be wandering and singing with her friends and those she has found ministry with during her time at Notre Dame. William Geoffroy narrated the choir’s day in Jerusalem, from a visit to the Mount of Olives onward following the steps Jesus once took. 

While many may envision the city of Jerusalem being a quiet, reverent place, Murphy observed the liveliness of the shops they passed. Jesus too experienced the city as a vibrant and bustling place, so perhaps it made the Folk Choir’s experience more realistic and paralleled what Jesus encountered. Beyond the busy city, the Folk Choir walked the stations of the Cross, putting their hands in a mark left by Jesus when he gave Simon his cross. Anna Staud took great meaning from the visit to the seventh station because she dedicated significant time to writing the lyrics for the Veronica song in their Passion project. Murphy offered a reflection during the choir’s visit to Magdala and shared her experience with emotional barriers. She encouraged the choir to open their hearts to their own emotions and confide in those navigating life beside them. Additionally, she connected intercessions in prayer with the need to have support through life.

As they journeyed around the land, the Folk Choir stopped in particularly impactful places to sing songs from their Passion and other prayers, like the “Our Father.” 

Visit the event page for more.

  • “For me as a Catholic, being able to be a pilgrim in this place means that I come with a sense of wonder… I am a stranger in this place, I’ve never set foot here before, and there’s so much for me to learn.” — Grace Murphy Speaker, 1:54
  • “I’m very struck by the dichotomy that exists between the ancient and the modern: walking down the street and seeing some of the holiest places — places I never thought I’d visit in my life — and turning around and there’s a shop owner trying to sell me things. It’s amazing to see how they can co-exist, and how, in fact, the modernness of the city almost enhances my experience.” — Grace Murphy, 5:37
  • “Some of my favorite [lyrics] of the [Veronica] song include: Like a flower tossed among the thorns, each has withered in the earth. What can I do when you’re bruised beyond all hurt? And I run to you through city streets and press my cloth to your cheek. Love paints a portrait of your pain for me to keep. It’s really moving and inspiring because I’ve imagined her actually running through the streets and actively, kind of like, leaping from the crowd to reach Jesus, and now I can actually walk the streets that she was in. — Anna Staud, 6:45 
  • “I could never be Christ. I could never be any of these women on these pillars, but to imagine standing with them is something I can imagine. And I think that’s something that is very powerful for me, and so I hope you can reflect on that as well and see where people are walking with you.” – Grace Murphy, 8:08

Art and HistoryReligion and PhilosophyDigest183DigestEasterEasterGood FridayHoly WeekJ.J. WrightLentNotre Dame Folk ChoirPalm SundayThe PassionUniversity of Notre Dame