Local churches celebrate Good Friday

At Our Lady of Good Counsel on Friday in Brownsville, more than 100 mask-wearing followers joined Rev. Rene Gaytan and Deacon Guadalupe Garcia as they led the crowd to the 14 Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross or Vía Crucis.

Catholic churches throughout the world celebrated Good Friday, when devout followers participate in tradition of re-enacting portions of the traditional Stations of the Cross, which commemorates Jesus’s passion and death to the cross.

Brownsville was no exception.

At the local church, the event also served as a reminder to attendees of the struggles the community had to endure this past year due to COVID-19. Some attendees hugged fellow members of the church for the first time after more than a year.

“We are here, and now we can hug each other since we’re both fully vaccinated!” a male member of the church said to a fellow member as they made their way through the crowd minutes before the celebration started.

According to The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville official webpage, there are 14 stations that each depict a moment on his journey to Calvary, usually through sacred art, prayers, and reflections. The practice began as pious pilgrims traced his path through Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa.

“Later, for the many who wanted to pass along the same route, but could not make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the formof the fourteen stations currently found in almost every church throughout the world,” the webpage reads.

“Similarly, the 150 Hail Marys that were recited for the rosary were an adaptation of the medieval monastic practice of reciting the 150 psalms in the Psalter.”

At the cathedral, Bishop Daniel E. Flores prayed the Stations of the Cross based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. The event was also live-streamed on Facebook and other social media outlets and started with an opening prayer that talks about learning from Jesus Christ.

“God of power and mercy, in love you sent your Son, that we might be cleansed of sin and live with you forever. Bless us as we gather to reflect on his suffering and death that we may learn from his example the way we should go. We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord,” the prayer reads.

After the opening prayer, the ceremony continues with the 14 stations which are the following: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested; Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin; Jesus is Denied by Peter; Jesus is Judged by Pilate; Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns; Jesus Bears the Cross; Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross; Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem; Jesus is Crucified; Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief; Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple; Jesus Dies on the Cross and Jesus is Placed in the Tomb.

“Lord Jesus Christ,your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven and reconciles all people to you,” the closing prayer reads.

“May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit. One God, for ever and ever.”