Bensonhurst Christians took part in a more-than-75-year-long tradition, as some 2,000 of the faithful walked in the neighborhood’s annual Good Friday Way of the Cross procession.
Traveling over a mile, participants walked from 68th Street and 20th Avenue to St. Mary Mother of Jesus Church, 2326 84th Street in silence, to commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice. The worshippers were led by Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez, who preached in both English and Italian.
This was a new route for the procession which, previously, had begun at 65th Street and 16th Avenue, ending at a different one of the 10 organizing churches — St. Athanasius, St. Bernadette, St. Dominic, St. Finbar, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Mary Mother of Jesus, Sts. Simon and Jude, Our Lady of Grace, Most Precious Blood and Guardian Angel — each year.
This year, the parishes had the help of the Knights of Columbus.
The walk, which mirrors Jesus’s walk after Pontius Pilate sentenced him to crucifixion, symbolizes the struggle inherent in the walk to Golgotha, and includes the 14 “Stations of the Cross,” where, traditionally, the procession stops to read scripture as well as sing a hymn or offer blessings.
Those walking reflected on Jesus’s final journey, bearing crosses, candles and statues with great emotion, watched by nearby residents, some of whom joined the procession.
“It was a very, very beautiful evening,” recalled Monsignor David Cassato, the pastor of St. Athanasius, “and a very prayerful experience. It was very inspirational to see at least 2,000 people there. To see the devotion of people on Good Friday, actually walking through the street, professing their faith, is a very beautiful thing.”
Additional reporting by Helen Klein.