In honour of Good Friday, which commemorates the death of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible, a small crowd gathered in front of Christ the King Church this morning to take part in the annual Way of the Cross presentation through Downtown Sudbury.
The recounting of the Way of the Cross is presented by the University of Sudbury’s St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, of the Development of Peace Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Northeastern Ontario. St. Ignatius holds the special open-air presentation each Easter. The Way of the Cross describes the events of the last days of Jesus Christ prior to his execution.
This year, the Development of Peace asked worshippers to ‘Share the Journey’, bringing awareness to the struggles of migrants and refugees around the world. “We’re told that there are 68.5 million people who are forced migrants in the world,” said Father David Shulist, of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish.
“In some ways, they are a testimony to the ills we have today.”
“As human beings, we are cooperating with (these injustices), we are cooperating with a way of life that does not uphold the dignity of human beings in the world.”
In preparation for Easter Sunday (April 21), the Catholic religion observes 40 days of Lent, during which time followers traditionally demonstrate their faith by refraining from a pleasant activity, be that food, use of an electronic, or a particular mindset. In the words of Shulist, it’s a time to take “an honest, loving look at our human condition and what comes out of that human condition when it’s not graced with God’s love.”
Followers join for one final act of contrition in the Way of the Cross, acknowledging their own sinfulness, human sin that brought the death of Christ and the salvation found in this honesty. “it is in the giving - dying of ourselves, that we are able to give ourselves over to something greater,” said Shulist.
Shulist said that as a religion based on love, one’s own sinfulness and the injustices of our world are not to be regarded as failures, but as opportunities of growth. “There is so much opportunity in the face of injustice to bring about justice, the question is, am I willing to choose,” said Shulist.
Beyond celebrating personal development, the Way of the Cross “reminds us that without God, we are not going to be able to create a world…human civilization… (or) societies that are going to respect the rights of people and the dignity of people,” said Shulist.
“He is offering us a vision that is going to bring about a different kind of life and a different kind of civilization, as he called it, a different kingdom,” said Shulist. “We need to be forgiven for the wrong that we have done that has contributed to not allowing or permitting that kingdom to come about.”
“The way of the cross is really calling us to a way of living, a way of life.”
If you didn't have the opportunity to attend this morning's celebration, L'Arche Sudbury will be presenting a dramatization of the Way of the Cross this evening at 6:30 p.m. beginning in front of Christ the King Church.