Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 28, 2003
Create a home in a world of fear
Way of the Cross leads pilgrims to understanding
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
For Sister of Charity of Immaculate Conception Marion Garneau, the inner city's Way of the Cross is a wonderful chance for people of different Christian traditions to come together.
"We attend to show first of all, our deep belief in Jesus and in his death that brings resurrection for us," Garneau told the WCR following the two-hour walk.
"This has to do with our daily lives. This has to do with the pain of the people."
Garneau works in the inner city. Day by day, she encounters the kinds of issues that were spoken about at the Good Friday celebration.
"I'm here in solidarity with them in the hope for a better future for them," said the sister.
The station began and ended at Nativity of Mary Church at 10560-108 St. It stopped at the parking lot of the Brick, McCauley School, Land Trust House, LRT Line, Urban Manor, Community Gardens, Aboriginal Learning Centre and at the parking lot behind the Remand Centre.
Begun 24 years ago, the walk has become an inner city institution.
More than 1,500 people assembled for the beginning of the walk, but their numbers diminished by the fourth station when the rain began to pour.
But most stayed on the journey and reflected on the passion of Jesus Christ.
"I'm wet and cold, but I am glad to be with people with such strong faith and strong belief," said Garneau, who has been with the organizing committee for the last seven years.
This year's theme was Creating Home in a World of Fear. The focus was the reality of homelessness in the world, whether caused by war, poverty or devastation of the environment.
The people were reminded that it is only when they have a place to truly call home that they experience security and can be truly free to take the risks to live as children of God.
Jim Gurnett, one of the walk organizers, said, "I think this year, more than many years ago, the importance of home is clearer to people. As we see in Canada, in Edmonton . . . people are desperately looking for housing.
"We see in the world many people are subjected to their homes being destroyed."
At the beginning of the station, Gurnett was talking to people, asking why they were there. They commented on what a fearful year this seems to be.
"So that's why I have the sense that we're needing to gather more - so that the Gospel message can be spread more."
Catholic groups that participated included Development and Peace, St. Theresa's Social Justice Ministry and a group from the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy. There were also individual Catholics who walked the way of the cross, including Archbishop Thomas Collins.
Chantal Rokosh, 24, of St. Theresa's Social Justice Ministry said, "For me, it is about being in union with the less fortunate people. It is about being in union and being in solidarity with the poor."
She has been attending this outdoor celebration for three years and the cold weather did not deter her.
"It's kind of chilly. But this happens everyday to people's lives especially those that are homeless."
After the walk, a community youth group called CEBES Voice of the Voiceless presented an original play, A Cry for Help: Where is Home?" by Raul Rodas.
"We are here to speak for those who are oppressed," Rodas explained.
"We're trying to be the voice of the voiceless. To do that, we have to make sacrifices by attracting others to the word of the Lord. And the word of the Lord is trying to tell us that the only way is to find peaceful solutions for the world's problem."
This youth group originated from El Salvador and now has branches in Belgium and Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
"We need to bring the word of sacrifice to the Church. We feel that the Church lacks that. In order for the Catholics to really see the value of sacrifice, they have to begin it within themselves," Rodas underlined.