Yesterday, we attended the Stations of the Cross, recreated by the Hispanic community of St. Patrick’s parish.
I’d always wanted to go before but could never catch it – it’s a little earlier than you’d expect – 11 am (but goes until well after 1).
It was well done, busy, crowded, and solemn. The crowd was overwhelmingly under 50. I’d say that by the end, there were over 300 people following along.
A guitarist and sound system lead the scene from a pickup. We began at the side of the church – near where the crucifixion would happen, then slowly made our way out and around the block for the stations. Scripture readings, meditations (read from the Spanish-language Magnificat, in case anyone’s interested), Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and then, procession with music – very simple music. with repetitive refrain – two songs, both with a variation of perdone as their theme. Even I could sing along after a couple of times.
The players did a fine job – soldiers mocked and beat without hesitation, women mourned loudly (and led the music, effectively, naturally), Pontius Pilate was brooding and thoughtful. The crucifixion was done this way: The two thieves stood in place, their arms wrapped around the back of the crossbeams of their crosses, holding them upright that way, but Jesus grasped two looped ropes on his, which kept him in place as they hoisted his cross – pretty high into the air, too.
It was hot, it was long – it was what a Via Crucis should be. Absorbing, a little challenging, tiring. Along the way, in the houses along the block, people stood on their porches or looked out their windows. I wanted to go up to them and tell them to join, to invite them to be a part of it. It may look strange, but it actually makes the most sense of anything in the world. In fact, for some of us, it’s hard to make sense of life without it. Come – walk with us.