Way of the Cross in Miami: Last Arrivals Once Again

A witness of welcome and invitation in light of the Way of the Cross.

Late in the morning of Good Friday I was headed for the beautiful campus of the seminary of Miami where I work. And like every morning its gentle palm trees, the pond in which the central St. Raphael Chapel is reflected and the two ‘arms’ of the high school and the seminary seemed to symbolically embrace me. No familiar face had showed up yet. Suddenly I noticed a small group of persons talking to each other. It was Carlos, an older Cuban gentleman, I met in daily Mass. Spontaneously I had invited him to our Way of the Cross, not expecting anything. And two Italian families, friends of friends, who happened to be on Easter vacation in Miami Beach.

Immediately I thought: “Last arrivals are first!” And what had prompted the initial impulse to organize again, after an interruption of two years, a Way of the Cross in the open air? It was Morgan, a last arrival from Wisconsin; she had called our friend José Pedro asking if the CL community of Miami would do the Way of the Cross. Slowly the number of participants increased. Friend after friend arrived on the spot. And then, again, I found myself shaking hands with mothers who had been brought by their enthusiastic high school daughters who recently had gone to the GS vacation for the first time with our teacher-friend Miriam. A seminarian, José, lately attending School of Community, unexpectedly popped up bringing with him a seminary brother whose mother died just a week before and who never had been at CL meetings. And there I also saw Barbora from Slovakia; she met the Movement a couple of years ago in Sweden. Due to her work she had to stay six weeks in Miami. Within days she had become a dear, familiar face in our community, radiating joy and gratitude.

At the beginning of the Way of the Cross, the participants were asked to maintain silence and try to be immersed in the suffering of Christ and the attitude of those last arrivals back then, Veronica and Simon of Cyrene. And from the First Station onward the words of the Stabat Mater, its pensive melody and the intense meditations of fr. Giussani knocked on the hearts of this small bunch of little children, kids, adolescents, and 25 to 75-year-olds, all following the wooden Cross: “The sacrifice –sacrifice – is Christ suffering and dying. He is the meaning of our lives. He must affect the present, because what is not loved in the present is not loved, and what is not affirmed in the present is not affirmed.” Thank you, Lord, for never ceasing to send us last and unexpected arrivals to reawaken us to this affirmation!