Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 11, 2005
Pilgrims walk the way of the cross
Youth choose Do Not Silence Me theme
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
As Jesus bore his cross up Calvary 2,000 years ago, so did some 800 followers take part in Edmonton's 25th Good Friday Outdoor Way of the Cross through the inner city.
Walking 96th Street on the brisk March 25 morning, the pilgrims united in prayer for prostitutes and the homeless; for the poor and the hungry. They remembered the unjustly imprisoned, gang members and drug addicts.
They celebrated Christ's identity with the most vulnerable.
This year's walk, titled Do Not Silence Me!, was designed and organized by the Salmon Catch young adult group from St. Dominic Savio Parish, which produced large cardboard-tube illustrations at Sacred Heart School to portray the Stations of the Cross with modern themes.
Franciscan Brother Gerry Clyne, who has participated for 15 years, said it was an honour for him to represent the Franciscans who helped launch the event a quarter-century ago.
Clyne has noticed several changes, one to clarify the Way's meaning.
"I recall people carrying their own crosses and signs, using the event as a platform for specific agendas. The social justice committee asked people to make the cross the central focus," he said.
Clyne praised the walk's growth not only in numbers of those participating, but in the expansion from a Catholic event to an ecumenical one. Bringing Christ's redemptive work and crucifixion to a larger social forum is a way to remind people that he is present in the handicapped and the poor, he said.
"There are not a lot of inner-city people who participate. So us being there is a show of solidarity. Maybe it is more for us so-called middle class to remind us there are people out there like that."
Ola Trefon was involved with the St. Dominic Savio group that produced the 15 stations. She said it was important they show the disadvantaged are as relevant as when Christ was alive.
"It was an amazing journey for the entire youth group. We learned a lot along the way," Trefon said.
As many as 40 youth pitched in during the month it took to design and build the stations.
Volunteer Maurice Prefontaine celebrated his 15th walk by directing human and vehicular traffic. A Knight of Columbus for 20 years, Prefontaine also participates in the RCIA program at St. Theresa Parish.
He shook his head in disgust.
"We are a very wealthy city and province and at any given time, we have 2,000 homeless people. The past 25 years, the stations have been given by the inner city missions who help these poor."
"This year, we are focusing on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, quenching the thirsty, welcoming the strangers and visiting the ill. Thankfully the missions help."
The cross was carried a dozen blocks up and down 96th Street, stopping at six stations, including McCauley School, the Mustard Seed Church and a vacant lot at 105th Avenue. It made its way back to Millennium House, the Boyle-McCauley Health Centre and Sacred Heart Church before holding a closing service in the Sacred Heart School gym.
With a cane, Antje Espinaco was on her eighth walk. Espinaco had her right knee fused solid 30 years ago by doctors while removing her cartilage. "Compared to my leader who made the ultimate sacrifice? Quit your moaning woman and be grateful."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.