Groups of Franciscan Mystery Players Across the United States

The Mystery Play itself is unique in that it is not really a play, but a powerful meditation and prayer. It has a remarkable ability to capture the imagination and emotions of its viewers. It's like traveling back 2000 years and being present at what actually happened. Unlike other plays done about Jesus' passion and death, the characters in this one have no lines and their faces are intentionally hidden beneath costumes and deep lighting. This enables the viewer not to be distracted by physical or verbal portrayals of characters. Instead, through special effects, lighting, a moving soundtrack, and sensitive mediations from an unseen source, the focus remains on what is happening within the viewer as they experience the Lord's Passion and Presence.

Also of great importance is the wonderful effect the Mystery Play has on the young people involved in it. Over the years there has been great bonding and a real faith awakening for most of the youngsters involved. Each group prays for an hour before a presentation and the depth of sharing is incredible and something that renews me every year. I myself must say that I have been amazed at how the Lord has really used this play to open people, both young and old to faith, forgiveness, healing, and a new enthusiasm. A lot of emphasis in Church circles today is directed to youth, and always with questions about what do we do to pass on our faith to young people. Needless to say, there are many effective ways that are being employed by the Lord, and most assuredly this is one of them. Though the Play is for both adult and young people, teens are the actual players and this fact makes it a very important evangelical vehicle. For a young person to see other young people not only participating in a religious play and praying, but dedicating months of preparation can be better than a hundred sermons.

Another important tradition in the mystery play is the invitation for anyone who wants to, to join us for either shared prayer or individual prayers for healing at the foot of the cross when the play is ended. Wonderful and deeply moving things are prayed for there. It has become a time of real union with the Lord, a time for healing, renewal, and bonding.

Lastly, we are a non-profit organization. Any viewer will see that we have a lot of sophisticated and expensive equipment involved in this mystery play. If you add the travel costs, we have a real need for support. At the same time we don't charge an admission, but we have a bucket at the exits of the Church for those who want to make an offering to keep our ministry on the road.

You won't want to miss this!

— Fr. Francis Pompei ofm, Author and Director