Again this year, on the Friday before Holy Week – which used to be the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows – the Dulce Nombre de María parish celebrated the Vía Crucis , the Way of the Cross, in the streets of Dulce Nombre de Copán.
In February the Parish Pastoral Council had chosen a number of themes for the stations, naming places where we need God’s mercy.
Padre German asked me to write the stations. I included a quote from Pope Francis for every station, related to the theme of the station and the concern that we recalled.
We started at the edge of town, several hundred people. El Nazareno, Jesus carrying the Cross, and a statue of the sorrowful mother were carried in the procession which went for almost three hours.
|Procession with the images of El Nazareno and the Sorrowful Mother|
At each station on the way to the church there was a decorated altar. Most sectors had also prepared a cross with the theme. We had a scripture reading, a reflection, prayers, and a quote from Pope Francis
Here are the stations and the themes – some accompanied by photos and with some commentary.
1. Jesus is condemned to death: impunity
2. Jesus takes up his Cross: the imprisoned
We listened to Pope Francis's remarks to the prisoners in Ciudad Juárez:
- Jesus’ concern for the care of the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless and prisoners … sought to express the core of the Father’s mercy. This becomes a moral imperative for the whole of society that wishes to maintain the necessary conditions for a better common life. It is within a society’s capacity to include the poor, infirm and imprisoned, that we see its ability to heal their wounds and make them builders of a good life together.
3. Jesus falls the first time: vices and drug-trafficking
An older man carried the cross of this station throughout the way of the cross - walking barefoot all the way.
4. Jesus meets his mother: challenges of families
5. Simon of Simon helps Jesus carry the Cross: the elderly and sick.
We listened to the words of Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel, #76:
- The pain and the shame we feel at the sins of some members of the Church, and at our own, must never make us forget how many Christians are giving their lives in love. They help so many people to be healed or to die in peace in makeshift hospitals. They are present to those enslaved by different addictions in the poorest places on earth. They devote themselves to the education of children and young people. They take care of the elderly who have been forgotten by everyone else. They look for ways to communicate values in hostile environments. They are dedicated in many other ways to showing an immense love for humanity inspired by the God who became human.
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus: children
The sector had prepared a moving image of a child best by problems: malnutrition, lack of housing, discrimination, extreme poverty, lack of medicine, abandoned children.
7. Jesus falls the second time: youth
The altar for this station was designed by a kindergarten. The teachers and the children had arranged an altar and prepared a drawing. Note the Winnie-the-Pooh pillow in front of the picture of Christ.
8. Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem: domestic violence and violence against women
Women had prepared this altar where we remembered domestic violence and the large number of killings of women in Honduras.
We read these remarks from Pope Francis, in The Joy of the Gospel, #212:
- Doubly poor are those women who endure situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence, since they are frequently less able to defend their rights. Even so, we constantly witness among them impressive examples of daily heroism in defending and protecting their vulnerable families.
9. Jesus falls the third time: lack of work, poor wages, exploitation of workers
10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes: lack of care for creation
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross: migrants.
12. Jesus dies on the Cross: murders
At this station, as we have in the past, we prayed for all those murdered in the parish during the past year. We asked people to come forward to mention the names after each of which we prayed, "Jesus Christ, have mercy on us." I was overwhelmed by the number of names of persons killed.
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross: injustice
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb
We read part of the remarks of Pope Francis at the end of the Stations of the Cross at World Youth Day in Brazil:
- But the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action which requires us to step outside ourselves to meet them and to extend a hand to them. How many people were with Jesus on the way to Calvary: Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, Mary, the women… Sometimes we can be like Pilate, who did not have the courage to go against the tide to save Jesus’ life, and instead washed his hands. Dear friends, the Cross of Christ teaches us to be like Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus to carry that heavy wood; it teaches us to be like Mary and the other women, who were not afraid to accompany Jesus all the way to the end, with love and tenderness. And you? Who are you like? Like Pilate? Like Simon? Like Mary?
- Dear friends, let us bring to Christ’s Cross our joys, our sufferings and our failures. There we will find a Heart that is open to us and understands us, forgives us, loves us, and calls us to bear this love in our lives, to love each person, each brother and sister, with the same love. Amen!
The Stations were followed by Mass in a full church.
The Stations were made available for the people to use in their communities on Good Friday morning.
The text of the Stations in Spanish can be found here.
More photos can be found in this set of photos on Flickr.