Many Pitt students pack Destinta Theatre
to watch 'The Passion of the Christ.'
Ramesh C. Reddy
On a weeknight when many
students were studying in the libraries, the anticipation of seeing the
controversial Mel Gibson movie, ‘The Passion of the Christ’ drew more
than 190 students to the basement of the Bellefield Presbyterian Church
located across 5th Avenue from Litchfield Towers where Cornerstone
Christian Fellowship (CCF) meets every Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m.
The students and
non-students gathered around 9:45 p.m. to go see ‘The Passion’ on its
opening night at Destinta Theatres – Plaza 22 for the 10:30 p.m.
More than 40-50 vehicles
left the church to transport everyone who had bought an advanced ticket
from Tom DeCais, the campus intern for Cornerstone.
DeCais had worked on
getting a theatre rented out so students could go watch the movie after
the fellowship. The turn out was not disappointing as the tickets
discounted at $4.00 were sold out!
People were amazed how
quickly every thing was organized and came together.
Lora Cornell, a staff
member at Jumonville Christian Camp said, “Tom DeCais, a good friend
came to camp Monday night and told me about it. I thought it was a great
idea what they did. Cornerstone tried to get at least one friend to
Students reached the
theater by 10:15 p.m. and waited in line in anticipation to see ‘The
Passion’. Many had ashes smeared in the shape of a cross on their
forehead to signify Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Good Friday.
‘The Passion’ began at
10:47 p.m. after everyone was directed to theatre #4.
‘The Passion’ started out
with the Bible verse about Jesus being pierced for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was
upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53)
‘The Passion’ showing
instilled silence among the audience as they took in the sufferings of
Andy Voelker, a Pitt
senior majoring in History said, “It [The Passion] was awesome, great,
and very powerful for me. It was a visual representation of the
sacrifice made for us. We think in abstract terms; we don’t think what
happened prior to and when He was on the cross. You know in your heart
but see in front of you; see him being whipped and flogged is an
accurate depiction what He went through for me.”
Pitt senior Mike Scanzano
who plays 3rd baseman for Pitt’s baseball team found out
about the event through Ron Coder, campus chaplain for ‘Fellowship of
Christian Athletes’ and decided to go.
Scanzano echoed Voelker’s
“At the end of the movie,
people were taking it in! Everyone was quiet and absorbing it all in. It
was emotional. It was a life changing experience for me and a powerful
movie I have ever seen”, said Scanzano.
Seeing ‘The Passion’ made
Cornell introspect her own life.
“It made me look at the
things I do. When I am tempted to sin, look at temptation in a different
light; to look at Communion in a different light. I don’t think I will
take Communion again without seeing those images in my mind”, said
gratitude towards Mel Gibson.
“I applaud Mel Gibson for
the courage”, said Cornell.
“Thank God for giving him
the idea and vision to do it when he did”, said Voelker.
Even though Scanzano and
his team had a 10 hour trip to Duke on a Thursday afternoon, he was glad
to make it to the movie.
“I could not control the
tears. They were flying off! I cannot believe anybody will go through
that for me. I am glad He died for me”, said Scanzano.
Voelker expressed extreme
gratitude towards Jesus too.
“I love Jesus a whole lot
more now. There will be many prayers of thanksgiving tonight. I was
thanking the Lord even through the movie. Jesus died on the cross for
our sin”, said Voelker.
The discussion turned
from ‘The Passion’ to the issue of Anti-Semitism.
“Here is the million
dollar question, did you feel the movie was Anti-Semitic?” asked Voelker.
Neither Scanzano nor
Cornell felt the movie was Anti-Semitic.
“I heard people were
protesting in front of theaters; no did not feel portrayed anything
against the Jews”, said Cornell.
Scanzano felt ‘The
Passion’ could not be Anti-Semitic since Jesus uses the words, “Father
forgive them, they know not what they do!”
Voelker felt the movie
does not make people Anti-Semitic.
“People are Anti-Semitic
before they go in and not after”, said Voelker.