SAN DIEGO — On Lenten Fridays, many Catholics congregate inside parish churches for Stations of the Cross.
But, on Good Friday, April 7, there are two opportunities for families to gather outdoors in downtown San Diego for a unique observance of this popular devotion, opportunities that also allow them to witness publicly to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
The 30th annual Good Friday Walk with the Suffering will be held that morning, and the 18th annual Good Friday Pro-Life Stations of the Cross that afternoon.
The Walk with the Suffering will commence at 8:30 a.m. The event will begin and end at the San Diego Rescue Mission, located at 120 Elm St. Free parking will be available at the San Diego Rescue Mission’s parking structure on Second Avenue.
Students from Cristo Rey San Diego High School, costumed as Jesus and other characters in the Passion narrative, will act out the various stations. The three-hour event will include stops at nine sites, where representatives from different organizations that serve the needy will lead prayers and offer reflections on issues that cause suffering in San Diego. Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano and various non-Catholic clergy will be among those leading participants in prayer.
During the procession, participants will sing hymns, such as “Jesus, Remember Me” and “The Cry of the Poor,” as they process from one station to the next.
“The purpose of the walk is to help us reflect and pray for those who suffer because of poverty, human trafficking, lack of access to health care, hunger, lack of affordable housing, and other issues,” explained its coordinator, Rosemary Johnston.
She said the event is “a great form of evangelization” because people see the public display, including the large cross and the costumed students, and are reminded what day it is.
“I’m a great believer in the ‘Church of the streets,’ that our faith needs to be made visible out in the community and not just in our parish church,” she said, “and this is a way of doing that.”
Another way is with the 18th annual Good Friday Pro-Life Stations of the Cross. Led by Bishop Bejarano, it will begin at noon that same day. Participants will meet at 11:45 a.m. and depart from the east side of St. Joseph Cathedral, at the corner of 4th and Beech, walking in procession toward the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building at Front and Broadway.
“The Pro-Life Stations of the Cross reflect on parallels of the suffering and execution of Jesus, who was innocent, with the suffering and death of the innocent unborn, who are made in the image and likeness of God, through abortion,” said the event’s organizer, Roger Lopez. “We pray for compassion for the innocent unborn and their mothers who suffer from abortion.”
The color guard of the Knights of Columbus, altar servers bearing a large wooden cross, members of the clergy, and Bishop Bejarano will lead the procession. Hundreds of others will follow with pro-life signs, large Catholic images and banners.
“This is a solemn procession commemorating the passion of our Lord on Good Friday, while recognizing the suffering our Lord endured for the sins of abortion,” said Lopez. “No graphic images of abortion are used, and families are encouraged to participate.”
For more information on the Walk with the Suffering, call (619) 384-6852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on the Pro-Life Stations of the Cross, contact the diocesan Office for Life, Peace and Justice at (858) 490-8323.