Fort Worth bishop leads faithful in Good Friday ritual

04/18/2014 11:45 PM

04/18/2014 11:48 PM

Catholics recalled the suffering and resurrection of Jesus on Good Friday by participating in a Stations of the Cross procession in downtown Fort Worth.

Fourteen Stations of the Cross were represented by pictures during the age-old ritual that details the sequence of Biblical events that tells of Jesus’ crucifixion. The practice, also known as the “Way of the Cross,” drew about 150 to 200 participants for the outdoor event.

“This helps us bring to mind as people of faith what Christ did for us in saving us from our sins,” said Bishop Michael F. Olson of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, who led the procession along Lancaster Avenue. “It helps remind us that we share in the cross and helps us persevere.”

This Easter season marks Olson’s first as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. The bishop followed a pattern of a Stations of the Cross ceremony led by Pope John Paul II at the Colosseum in Rome in 1991.

The first station symbolized Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before being arrested.

“Jesus felt sorrow and dread over what lay ahead of him,” Olson said. “He prayed for the burden to be lifted and the cross to be removed, but only if the Father willed so. His example teaches us to pray at all times, especially in the midst of our own crosses.”

Participants are called to “pick up” their crosses by their faith and to follow Jesus, Olson said during the procession.

“The Stations of the Cross are a ritual by which we can do that, and it helps us to do that in our daily lives when we encounter suffering, when we encounter death in our own lives,” Olson said.

The bishop said they took the procession outdoors to be in the “midst of the city just like Jesus was crucified in the midst of a city.”

Participants prayed and knelt before signs depicting Stations of the Cross, which are similar to sculptures or stained glass renditions found in Roman Catholic churches.

Several participants said they took part in the Stations of the Cross to pray and remind themselves of Jesus’ suffering.

Pam Money of Amarillo was in town to see a Texas Rangers baseball game, but she made sure to attend some of the Good Friday events in North Texas.

“It’s a reminder of what we are celebrating, Easter,” she said.

“For me, it’s very emotional,” said Jodi Zambino of Benbrook. “It’s a beautiful story; he died for us.”

Zambino participated with her husband, Richard, and their 7-year-old son, Anthony.

Annette Padilla of Fort Worth took three of her grandchildren on the walk.

“It’s so important for my grandchildren to see this,” Padillia said, “because for me this is the life he gave for us to give us new life. My grandchildren need to understand that God is life and life is God.”

Readings at each station recalled Jesus’ crucifixion, ending with Jesus being laid in the tomb.

Lynne Alpar and her daughters, Michelle and Madeline, said they have been participating in the outdoor event for several years. They said they like to immerse themselves in the tradition.

“It’s being out here,” Lynne Alpar said. “It’s being a part of this service. … It’s a very reverent tribute to Good Friday.”

Said Madeline: “Easter season is a time for renewal.”

Correspondent Jim Jones contributed to this report.

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