Friday, April 6, 2012

Passover Begins And Christians Celebrated Good Friday With Via Crucis

Photos: HNG

Hundreds of Christians attend annual Via Crucis in the south side of Milwaukee.

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 6, 2012

Milwaukee - At sunset on Friday, the beginning of passover began for hundreds of Latinos and non-Latino Christians during Holy week that observed Good Friday with a Via Crucis, which is a re-enactment of the ritual that commemorates Jesus Christ suffering in the hours before his crucifixion. In Milwaukee, the Via Crucis began at about 1:00 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 2114 W. Mitchell St. and ended at St. Josaphat Basilica, 2333 S. 6th St. around 4:00 p.m. The event was sponsored by the Hispanic Ministry Office of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Parishioners and volunteers during the Via Crucis take up roles and undergo a mock crucifixion. While other volunteers read bilingual segments of the crucifixion at each station stop.
During Lent, Christians place special emphasis on prayer and contemplation on the Passion and Death of the Lord through expressions of popular piety such as the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) and veneration of the Crucified Christ.
The Stations, or Way of the Cross, are a traditional method of meditating upon Christ's Suffering and Death. In the Catholic church, you will find 14 images usually hanging on the wall. It is customary before each station to pray. The stations are, I. Jesus is condemned to death. II. Jesus takes up his Cross. III. Jesus falls the first time. IV. Jesus meets his sorrowful Mother. V. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross. VI. Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus. VII. Jesus falls a second time. VIII. Jesus meet the Women of Jerusalem. IX. Jesus falls the third time. X. Jesus is stripped of his garments. XI. Jesus is nailed to the Cross. XII. Jesus dies on the Cross. XIII. Jesus is taken down from the Cross. XIV. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn. It is very usual, when the devotion is performed publicly, to sing a stanza of the "Stabat Mater" while passing from one Station to the next.
On Sunday, is the observance of Easter by Western Christians. This years cost of the Via Crucis was estimated at $5,000, which included permits, and police escort throughout the south side route, according to the Hispanic Ministry Office.

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