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Buddhists appear in passion play first

Interfaith drama in Kandy makes Lenten tradition a bit more special

Buddhists appear in passion play first
Sri Lankan youths perform a passion play reporters, Kandy, Jaffna
Sri Lanka

April 18, 2011

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Jesus was a Buddhist, albeit for a short while yesterday, when Kandy diocese staged a passion play performed by both Buddhist and Catholic youths for the very first time. Passion plays are a traditional part of Lent for Sri Lankan Catholics. Yesterday, the Church-run center for media apostolate staged the play with 18 young Catholic and Buddhist actors at a theater in Kandy. Father Sudath Rohana Perera, the center’s director developed the script. “The parents of all these children offered huge support to make this a success, even though they didn’t know much about the Church,” said Fr. Perera, who also directed the drama. “It was a real challenge with the Buddhist children.” The Buddhist children found it a challenge, too. “It wasn’t an easy task to play Jesus. I am a Buddhist and don’t know much about Jesus Christ and the way he lived,” said 16-year-old Dulshan Chathuranga. Among the large Buddhist and Christian audience, were Bishop Vianney Fernando of Kandy, as well as many other priests and nuns. “The boy playing the role of Jesus did it very effectively since it isn’t an easy role if you are not a Christian,” said Bishop Fernando after the play. “Through him the personality of Jesus came out very nicely,” he added. “The arts are universal and it is a good medium to build relationships as well,” Bishop Fernando said. “It isn’t a problem Buddhists acting in this kind of play. They are just children. Some others may have problems regarding this but not us,” he said. Related item: Church Center Stages Passion Play In War-torn Jaffna
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