Evangelization with a little abracadabra.
St. Athanasius parish in Bensonhurst hosted Father Jerry Jecewiz’s “Priesto” and his magic act as part of its Lenten celebration. The priest-magician combines magic tricks with an important message.
Father Jecewiz, who is the pastor of St. Raphael’s parish, Sunnyside, uses magic to explain how God loves all people. Children from the parish were excited to see the magic, but were also able to learn something about their own faith during this Lenten season.
“I started doing magic when I was a child myself and fell in love with it,” said the Queens priest. “I traveled with a troupe that visited veterans in hospitals and it just kept growing from there.
“In my priesthood I have used it to fundraise, but also to spread the message. I want the children to know I just do tricks and it is God who performs the true miracles. When they see the message through a visual they understand the message more clearly. The eyes are a gateway to the heart and this helps many of them to start thinking about God’s love. Tonight’s message focused on forgiveness – God hates sin, but God is Love.”
For the finale, Father Jecewiz performed his signature trick, bringing his assistant Dudley the Duck on stage and then making him disappear.
Gabriella Galati, a first grader from the neighborhood, enjoyed learning about God.
“I had a lot fun, my favorite trick was the one with the duck, he made it disappear. I don’t know how he did that,” she said. “I learned that God loves us and
forgives us no matter what.”
Alyssa Landa, a fifth grader at St. Athanasius, was also able to see the bigger message.
“Tonight I learned that God is always with us and always shows us His love. Sin is bad, but God forgives us,” she said.
“Lent is the time for us to make sure God knows we love Him. My favorite trick was the water one. He turned the bottle upside down and the water stayed there until he snapped his fingers.”
Msgr. David Cassato, pastor of St. Athanasius added, “That was some show. I am sure many of the parishioners wish he made me disappear instead. He has a great message too, and I think the children will be able to take away from that and use it in their own faith.”