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St. John the Beloved School moves Stations of the Cross outside, using first-graders’ artwork: Photo gallery

Members of the first grade at St. John the Beloved School drew and colored these Stations of the Cross as preschoolers. The school chose to display them outside since the entire student body cannot gather in the church for the devotion as it normally does. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — A two-year-old project designed for preschool students’ personal use has become a COVID-inspired feature at St. John the Beloved School in the Pike Creek area.

Two years ago, students in the early childhood program for 4-year-olds acted out the Stations of the Cross and brought them to life.

“The decided they wanted to create the Stations of the Cross,” their teacher, Alison Albert, said at the school.

The original idea was to hold on to the drawings until the students were in eighth grade, but with the pandemic, but the idea of a walking Stations of the Cross to help acknowledge the season arose.

“This just kind of came to us. As a Catholic school, we still wanted to celebrate Lent,” Albert said.

The students worked in teams as preschoolers. Some outlined the pictures, while others did the coloring. Students who were eighth-graders at St. John the Beloved two years ago wrote out prayers for each station. Julianna Degli Obizzi drew the station where Jesus fell for the third time. She said that from the lesson, she learned that “he got nailed to the cross.”

Her classmate, A.J. Gaspar, noted that his executioners also “made him carry the cross.”

Nathan Taggart, another first-grader, said when they finished their project, they walked around the school to tell the other classes about the Stations. He is happy to attend a Catholic school, he said.

“I feel special that we can talk about Jesus,” he said.

Albert said the students normally gather in the church during Lent, and the eighth grade usually performs the living Stations of the Cross. With that not really an option this year, they decided to post the students’ project outside. All of the classes at St. John have been outside to see them. They are also available for parishioners who might want to stop by and see them. The parish has publicized the project on its Facebook page.

“We do encourage others to experience Stations of the Cross,” she said.

Albert said a decision will be made whether to make this an annual tradition at St. John the Beloved. She added that she feels fortunate to provide a Catholic education for her students.

“We’re pretty lucky that we get to go to a school where we have God in our lives daily.”

Photos by Mike Lang or courtesy of St. John the Beloved School.