NEW YORK, APRIL 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Thousands of the faithful in 24 cities across the United States are expected to follow in Christ’s footsteps on the Way of the Cross this Good Friday.
In Washington, D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will participate in the public procession on the Mall, and in New York City, Auxiliary Bishop Ignatius Catanello of Brooklyn will lead the Way of the Cross over the Brooklyn Bridge to ground zero at the former World Trade Center site.
Large crowds are also expected in international cities, especially Madrid, where the procession will be held at the sites of the recent bombings.
“The Way of the Cross began eight years ago in New York City as a way to express our faith publicly — that Jesus and his life, death and resurrection is the meaning of our daily lives,” said Jonathan Fields, national director of Communion and Liberation, an ecclesial movement that is organizing the events.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the procession took on special significance and drew about 3,000 New Yorkers.
“It seemed the only real response to the mystery of evil that year was the cross of the resurrection of Christ,” said Fields. “There was no way to face that tragedy except with the Christ’s passion in solidarity with everyone in New York City.”
The processions include the recitation of the Stations of the Cross, readings from the Passion narratives in the Gospel, meditations on the works of the Catholic poet Charles Peguy, and songs.
John Paul II blessed last year’s participants in the Way of the Cross with these words: “May this annual pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Redeemer lead those present to sincere conversion of heart, closer union with the crucified Lord in his redemptive sufferings, and renewed commitment to the Gospel message of freedom, justice and peace.”
Other U.S. cities holding processions include Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago; Dallas, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Duluth, Minnesota; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles; and Tampa, Florida. Typically, up to 200 people process in each city.
“It’s not about the turnout, it’s about the meaning of the gesture, done in union with our brothers and sisters in Christ, publicly witnessing where we live and around the world,” Fields said. “We are remembering what Jesus did on this day for us, expressing that he and his love are still present to the Church.”