Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A community walks in faith and reflection

Annual ceremony marks Jesus' death

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More than 800 Catholics walked the streets of the Burrows Central neighbourhood to mark Good Friday and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

This is the 26th year for the Public Way of the Cross, hosted this year by St. John Cantius Parish Church on Burrows Avenue. The walk of more than two kilometres included six stops, each with two readings symbolizing the Stations of the Cross.

Event organizer Erin Kinsella said it is put on by the Youth and Young Adult Office at the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.

"It was instituted to help bring awareness to justice issues and to our need for service in the community," Kinsella said. "Also to relate that to Jesus' life and how our relationship with him leads us into service for other people."

Archbishop James Weisgerber of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg participated in the walk. He said that even on the traditionally sombre Good Friday, parishioners coming together shows spirit.

"It's a time when we can celebrate our faith together," Weisgerber said. "We don't see it very publicly in our society, and when we all come together like this, we see we're not alone."

Maria Rojs, who immigrated to Winnipeg from the Philippines two years ago, said the public walk is a tradition in her home country. "I've done this all my life, since I've been able to walk," Rojs said.

"It is a time to walk, pray and contemplate what Jesus went through."

Good Friday is always an emotional day for cousins Judy and Delfine Marinelli, who came on the walk to mourn and celebrate with fellow Catholics.

"When you really think that Jesus died for us, it is very emotional," said Judy Marinelli. "When you think of all the evil, you think in your mind about how to make things better on the walk."

"Everybody should do it," said Delfine. "It would have been beautiful to do the Public Way of the Cross and then three o'clock mass with everyone. It would be a beautiful experience with everyone."

Louis Richard has been bringing his family to the Public Way of the Cross ceremony for more than 15 years. He said the gathering with different types of people symbolizes God's love for everyone.

"It's nice to be with a big crowd of Catholics," Richard said. "To see all the people who have faith in a world that so often neglects God, leaves God behind, it's wonderful to be with a large group of people who share the faith."

After the walk, Kinsella said coming out on a chilly Friday proves Winnipeggers have faith not because it's a convenience, but because it's integral to their daily lives and how they live.

"People walk because they recognize the importance of community, and they recognize that faith is something that's shared."

stephanie.crosier@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 30, 2013 A9

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