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Assembly Title
Sorrowful Mysteries

Submitted by
S. Daly

Age Group

To consider the death of Jesus from his mother Mary's point of view

Faith Group

A large cross

Time of Year
Lent, Holy Week, Easter

Other Details
This is a long service. Parents could be invited to it
Each Sorrowful Mystery could be given to a different class to enact
The large cross could be moved around the hall or church during the service, around the outside of the audience, the audience therefore have to turn their heads to follow the cross


HYMN: 'Were you there?' (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 791)

LEADER: This is Holy Week, a time when Christians think about the last few days before Jesus died for us - and then rose again from the dead.
The week begins on Palm Sunday, when we remember how Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem.
He was coming to celebrate the Passover, a Jewish festival for commemorating the time when Moses led the Israelite slaves out of Egypt.
He was to celebrate with a special meal - which, in fact, became his Last Supper, on Holy Thursday.
He was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Roman soldiers and then crucified, on Good Friday.
Three days later, he rose from the dead - which we celebrate on Easter Sunday.

CHILD: We are going to think about the last day before Jesus died, from the point of view of somebody who was there at the time - Mary his mother. We are going to do this, by using the five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

CHILD: The Rosary is a special way of praying to God, while honouring Mary the mother of Jesus. Certain prayers are recited and repeated: the Sign of the Cross, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be and the Hail, Holy Queen.
To keep count of the prayers, rosary beads are used.
While praying, we think about any or all of fifteen important events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. These are called the Mysteries.
The five Joyful Mysteries are to do with the birth and childhood of Jesus.
The five Sorrowful Mysteries tell us about the Passion and death of Jesus -
and the five Glorious Mysteries tell us what happened after Jesus rose from the dead, ending with Mary, our heavenly mother, becoming Queen of Heaven.
A rosary is also a rose-garden, so when we pray the Holy Rosary it is like giving Mary a crown of roses, to thank her for giving us her son.
Watching Jesus suffer and die was heart-breaking for Mary, but she did it for God and for us.

LEADER: Let us now begin as we begin when saying the Rosary:

ALL: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

LEADER: We will now sing a hymn to Mary, who gave us her son.

HYMN: 'As I kneel before You' by M. Parkinson (Hymns Old and New number 45)

LEADER: We continue with the next prayer in the Rosary, the Apostles' Creed...

ALL: The Apostles' Creed...

LEADER: And now, the Echo Our Father.

HYMN: 'Echo Our Father' (Songs of the Spirit number 100)

LEADER: Let us now say what the Angel and Elizabeth said to Mary...

ALL: Hail Mary...

LEADER: To set the scene for the Sorrowful Mysteries, we are going to sing the first four verses of 'The Bakerwoman'. Jesus is sometimes called the Bread of Life. Mary is the bakerwoman who baked that bread for us.

HYMN: 'The Bakerwoman' by H. Richards (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 687 - verses 1-4)



CHILD: The first Sorrowful Mystery - The Agony in the Garden.

After the Last Supper, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane.
He goes there because he knows that his enemies want to kill him - and he wants to pray to God his Father about it.
He is afraid. Because he is God, he knows what is going to happen to him the next day - and because he is Man, he does not want to suffer.
He takes three of his special friends with him - Peter, James and John. He tells them to pray, then he goes off by himself.
He asks God if he can escape what is about to happen. He says, "Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by."
But he then accepts that he has to go through with it, saying, "I will do whatever I have to do." He feels cold and frightened. He foresees many of the sins which men will commit; he sweats blood.
He then returns to his friends and finds that they have fallen asleep.
Jesus feels desolate.

(Taped music - 'Gethsemane' - from Jesus Christ Superstar)

CHILD: We are afraid sometimes - not that people will hurt us or kill us, but in case they laugh at us when we try to do good.
It takes a lot of courage sometimes.
Jesus wanted to do what God his Father wanted, no matter what it cost him. May we always try to do what God wants, no matter what it costs us.
Lord Jesus, help us. Mary, pray for us. Amen.



CHILD: The second Sorrowful Mystery - The Scourging at the Pillar.
(Mimed. Show silhouette of a scourge.)

Jesus is still in the Garden. Judas brings some soldiers to arrest him.
They take him to the High Priest Caiaphas, who finds him guilty of being disrespectful to God. Then they take him to the Roman Governor Pilate, to have the death sentence passed.
Pilate thinks Jesus is innocent. He does not want him to die. But Jesus will not speak. Pilate orders the soldiers to whip him with a scourge.
A scourge was a whip with many strands. Often, there were jagged bits of metal tied to the strands. The soldiers were allowed to whip prisoners for as long as they wanted to. Some prisoners died as a result.
The soldiers tie Jesus to a pillar, mock him and then whip him.
Jesus suffers the pain in silence. He knows that his suffering will help bring God's forgiveness to Man.

(Taped music - 'Trial before Pilate' - from Jesus Christ Superstar)

CHILD: Jesus was hurt by the soldiers' cruelty. We have never scourged anyone with a whip, but we have hurt people in other ways. We have been cruel and spiteful to them - and whatever we do to others, we also do to Jesus. May we try harder to be friendly and forgiving.
Lord Jesus, help us. Mary, pray for us. Amen.



CHILD: The third Sorrowful Mystery - The Crowning with Thorns.
(Mimed. Show a crown of thorns.)

The soldiers continue to mock Jesus.
They know that Jesus calls himself a king, so they dress him up as a king. They put a red cloak around him, put a reed in his hand as a sceptre and then push a rough crown of spiky thorns onto his head. They dance around Jesus, laughing and spitting. They shout, "Hail, King of the Jews." Jesus remains silent.

HYMN: 'Crown Him' - to the tune of Praise him (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 601)

CHILD: Sometimes bullies tease and make fun of us. When that happens, may we be strong enough to remain calm. May we ourselves never act like those bullies.
Lord Jesus, help us. Mary, pray for us. Amen.



CHILD: The fourth Sorrowful Mystery Jesus carries his Cross.
(Mimed. Show the Cross - move it.)

The soldiers lead Jesus away to be crucified. He has to carry the heavy, wooden cross through the rough streets of Jerusalem, to Calvary. He is weak and falls at least three times.
The soldiers make Simon of Cyrene help him.
People who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday are now jeering at him.
Mary sees all this and grieves.

HYMN:' They hung him on a Cross' (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 727 - verse 2)

CHILD: We all have a cross in our lives - some sadness or difficulty that we have to deal with. May we do so bravely.
Lord Jesus help us. Mary, pray for us. Amen.



CHILD: The fifth Sorrowful Mystery - Jesus dies on the Cross.
(Mimed. Move the Cross to centre stage.)

The soldiers nail Jesus to the cross. For hours his life slowly ebbs away.
People stay to watch.
The soldiers don't really care; they even gamble for Jesus's clothes - except one soldier who offers Jesus a drink. Jesus is in agony, yet he still asks God to forgive his tormentors.
Mary stands at the foot of the cross, with John the Apostle. Jesus looks down and says, "Mother, this is your son. John, this is your mother."
Jesus is making sure that someone will look after his mother. He is also giving Mary to us. She will look after us like a good mother.
Then Jesus cries out, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
He bows his head and dies. His labour of love is complete.
Mary always knew that one day she would experience such great sorrow.
Now she mourns for her son.

(Taped music - 'The Crucifixion' - from Jesus Christ Superstar)

'The Bakerwoman' by H. Richards (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 687 - verses 5 & 6)

CHILD: In the world today, many people still die unjustly. Many die of hunger. Many die in wars and fighting.
Lord Jesus, help them. Mary, pray for them. Amen.

CHILD: May we always remember that Jesus died for us - and that he gave us his precious mother.
Lord Jesus, help us. Mary, pray for us. Amen.



CHILD: When Jesus died, his friends were afraid. They thought that they too might be put to death. Some of them began to doubt that Jesus was God.
Their doubts disappeared three days later when Jesus rose from the dead.

CHILD: Read the last verse of 'The Bakerwoman' (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 687)

LEADER: A decade of the Rosary is concluded with a prayer of praise: the Glory Be. Let us now sing this.

HYMN: 'Glory Be' by R. Palmer (4 lines from verse 3 of Sing of Mary Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 652)

LEADER: The Sorrowful Mysteries are followed by the Glorious Mysteries.
Jesus's death was not the end. He rose again in triumph, to comfort and strengthen Mary and his followers.
The joy of this is expressed in our final hymn.

HYMN: 'I danced in the Morning' by S. Carter (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 275)

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 26-7-12.