Friday, March 29, 2013

Christians Celebrated Good Friday With 29th Annual Via Crucis In Milwaukee

José Manuel Hernández, portrayed Jesus Christ during this year's Via Crucis. 

Photos: HNG

Hundreds of Christians attended the 29th Annual Via Crucis in the south side of Milwaukee as passover began.

By H. Nelson Goodson
March 29, 2013

Milwaukee - 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 just after 1:00 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 2114 W. Mitchell St. and will end at St. Josaphat Basilica, 2333 S. 6th St. around 4:00 p.m. The event was sponsored by the Hispanic Ministry Office and Cultural Ministry of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Parishioners and volunteers during the Via Crucis take up roles and undergo a mock crucifixion. This year, José Manuel Hernández from Jalisco played the role of Jesus Christ. While other volunteers read bilingual segments of the crucifixion at each station stop. 
Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki joined the Via Crucis at the IX Station at St. Hyacinth Church.
This month, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Buenos Aires, Argentina became Pope Francis the First after being elected as the 266 non-European Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis I became the first cardinal from South America to be selected as Pope in 20 centuries (nearly 1,300) and is seen as a reformer, an advocate for democracy and representing the poor. Catholics are also celebrating Pope Francis I as their new leader of the Catholic church.
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 more than $5,000, which included permits, and police escort throughout the south side route, according to the Hispanic Ministry Office.

José Manuel Hernández from Jalisco portrayed Jesus Christ during the 29th Annual Via Crucis/Live Stations of the Cross in Milwaukee, WI. Hundreds of people of all ages attended the annual procession event marking the beginning of Passover for Christians around the world. (Photo: HNG/HNNUSA)

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