Way of the Cross in New York (Photo: Paul Martinka)

United States: Walking behind the Cross

CL communities around the world gathered on Good Friday to walk the Way of the Cross. Here are some of the many letters received from the U.S.

This year was my second Way of the Cross with the CL community here in Atlanta. One thing that struck me, in particular, was how beautiful a day it was. It was sunny and 75 with a slight breeze. Students were throwing a frisbee and playing spike ball on Tech Green. But our savior, teacher, bridegroom, would die this day. I couldn’t help but imagine back to that day, two thousand years ago. Christ walking through the streets to Calvary. Was it a beautiful day? A normal day with people going about their business? Did people walk past our Christ just as easily as these students look and walk by us today? Or did they stop and realize who this man was? As we were walking down Freshman Hill a woman was running. Right as she saw us come over the horizon, carrying the 5-foot wooden cross, she fell to her knees. She followed us on her knees until all forty of us passed, and then got up and continued on her run. This woman remembered Christ. She saw him through us, through this community. CL has shown me how Christ in his passion and resurrection resides in me. It has shown me how Christ can touch the hearts of those on this campus through this community, through our remembrance of His passion on a beautiful day.
Kayla, Atlanta, Georgia

New York (Photo: Giulietta)

I look at my photos and I immediately remember the silence of it all. The silence we carried and the silence it brought to those who saw His Cross - and I’m reminded of the silence He must have had too.
Jackie, Kansas City, Missouri


On a campus that is normally bustling with student traffic at the lunch hour, we walked across in silence following the wooden Cross. I found myself in the place of the women who journeyed with Christ as he walked, accompanying him in sorrow. On occasion, a passerby would stop to look at what we were doing, and even pray with us for a few moments - perhaps they too were struck by this interjection of Christ's presence in their lives.
Vanessa, Notre Dame University, Indiana


Fac ut ardeat cor meum in amando Christum Deum” (Make it so that my heart be on fire in loving Christ the Lord) are the words of the Stabat Mater that have accompanied me in the preparation work for this year’s Way of the Cross in downtown Chicago on Good Friday. An offering that has given room to the recognition that time and space truly and thankfully belong to Him and in which He enters through a simple “yes”. I can’t but think of the gift of being able to occasionally take time off to devote it to certain tasks for the WoC, even within the many deadlines at work; or of the beauty of the dinner some of us had with Bishop Mark and few other priests of the Archdiocese with whom has started a new friendship. Thanks to the Bishop’s fatherly embrace and involvement, this year it was particularly powerful to live the memory of His passion by walking in silence, singing, praying, and following His cross with participating staff and volunteers of the Kolbe House Jail Ministry agency who joined us with returning detainees, with Most Rev. Roman and other Catholics of the Ukrainian community, or with Parris, a representative of Cook County Jail Sheriff’s office, to name a few. Within our own poverty, I am filled with wonder and gratitude for each and every simple “yes” of many that has marked every little or major aspect. A “yes” to You, O Christ, that humbly and surprisingly emerges even from under the layers of daily distraction and forgetfulness. As some friends shared: “Where the modern man is absorbed in ordinary business on a regular Friday morning, there journeys a group of strange people silently following a bare wooden Cross, singing centuries old chants, listening to Gospel readings. The Mystery of the Passion of the Lord yet again meets man's indifference and scorn, sometimes curiosity, or seldom clumsy gestures of reverence from the passerby - just like it happened two thousand years ago. How absurd it would be to remember an event that took place in such a remote past... if it weren't for the certainty of the Resurrection. If it weren't for the announcement that Christ died and rose for me, you, and everyone. If it weren't for the promise that He comes to redeem our evil, our death, our sin, and ultimately comes to beg for our heart - man's heart that, almost drowning in the noises of the city, in fact, irreducibly desires only Him.”
Benjo, Chicago, Illinois


"But will you help me to carry the Cross?" In the morning leading up to our Way of the Cross my four-year-old son Xavier kept earnestly posing this question. Each time he asked I responded half-distractedly that yes, he'd have help. It was easier to appease the request than to explain to him that he was too small to carry the Cross and that he'd just be walking and praying like the rest of us. Finally, when we were all bundled against the cold and wind, we arrived at the start. To be honest, I had pretty much forgotten about Xavier's desire to carry the Cross. We were three stations in and about to proceed again when I looked up and saw little Xavier carrying the Cross with his Dad. I was so moved by this. While I was fine to be a spectator, Xavier wasn't satisfied unless he could personally involve himself in this gesture. Something awoke in me and I was reminded that beneath the rubble of my distraction and weariness I too want to be a protagonist. For Xavier, those steps he took bearing the weight of the Cross were his prayer and his way of loving Jesus.
Steph, Crosby, Minnesota


The CL Rochester community (with neighboring communities in Cortland, Auburn and Houghton) commemorated our Lord's passion by walking a 3-mile walk in silence, stopping at stations (mostly abandoned lots and parking lots) along the way. There were about thirty of us. As we processed, people came out of their homes or honked their car horns as they drove by. One man stopped our procession outside St. Michael's to ask why, if Jesus rose from the dead, do we still have him on the cross? Fr. Peter Mottola explained that we want to remember how much he loves us, and what he did for us. We invited the man to join us for our last station inside St. Michael's. After staying and praying with us he said, "It feels good to be invited". Rita, Rochester, New York

Cincinnati (Photo: Jessica Rinaudo)

As I drove to the Way of the Cross, I was asking myself “Why do we do this Way of the Cross, in the middle of the city? Will people just look at us as another group of religious fanatics? What is the point of this?” Overwhelmed by these questions, I arrived, discombobulated, at the Boston Common where my husband, who was singing in the choir, gave me both my daughters, Teresa (3.5 years) old and Mary (1.5 years old). Mary only wanted to get down from the stroller to wander around, while Teresa was already running everywhere. The Way of the Cross started, and my situation did not improve. Rather, it degenerated; Teresa did not want to listen, and if I left Mary she screamed. I was ready to pack up and go home. But there was a tension in my heart that pulled me back and whispered “stay here”. At that moment, Father Luis, hearing Mary screaming, came closer to the stroller and started explaining to Mary, in a whispering voice, what was going on in the First Station. Mary quiets down. In the same instant, I saw Paolo, Teresa’s classmate, and I invited Teresa to stay with him. She went next to him and quieted down as well. I was dumbstruck at how I was being accompanied. I felt a tenderness toward myself and, being accompanied, I was ready to accompany Him. In that moment, I understood that first and foremost, I do the Way of the Cross for myself, because I need to follow Him. And this would not be possible (literally!) without a Christian companionship. Some people will wonder who we are, some people will stay far away, others will ignore us completely, but even though we hope this gesture will awaken a question in some people (I heard a girl saying “I forgot it was Easter”), this gesture is firstly for me, for my conversion. A conversion that needs to happen every moment.
Laura, Boston, Massachusetts