Maryknoll Missionary dramatises Gospel

Maryknoll Missionary Father Michael Bassano dramatising the Gospel at the Church of St Michael on Nov 19. PHOTO: ANTHONY CHAN


By Benedict Tang

AMERICAN Maryknoll Missionary Father Michael Bassano recently illustrated how he presents the Gospel to different groups of people as a way of making the Word of God known. At his Nov 18 presentation to the NET (New Evangelisation Team) School of Evangelisation he said he uses music and role-play as a form of evangelization busking in Bangkok, where he is based.

He dramatised the Annunciation, Birth and Baptism of Jesus, Sermon on the Mount, Crucifixion and Resurrection by playing different roles in each scene. His musical dramatisation is mainly taken from the Gospel of Matthew and was inspired by a script that he chanced upon written by a dramatist for a Chilean actress friend.

When a member of the audience noticed tears in his eyes during the scene of the Crucifixion he asked if that was part of the act. "It's my own experience of the painful times of my life," Fr Bassano explained." I couldn't do this if I was just acting, because every time I do this I say, `Lord, this has to be a prayerful experience of your Word.' "

At the Church of St Michael on Nov 19, he invited his audience to take part in the role-playing. He sang religious songs, one in Thai, with his guitar for accompaniment. Fr Albert Ng, from the church, said he found the one-man dramatisation meaningful and refreshing. "Fr Bassano was high-spirited and he performed his dramatisation in a very spiritual way," he added.

Ms Priscilla Leong, who attends the NET School of Evangelization, said the way the Gospel was presented by Fr Bassano was "very special and different. The dramatisation made the Gospel easier to understand for people who have not heard it before."

Fr Bassano, 50, is a former United States diocesan priest who did 10 years of mission work in Chile for the Maryknoll Mission. After that he decided to become a Maryknoll missionary.

The Catholic News (December 12 1999)