The 20th anniversary of the Way of the Cross over the Brooklyn Bridge this past Good Friday, March 25 had thousands of Brooklyn residents walking over the span in memory and honor of Jesus Christ to the oldest parish in the city.
Beginning at 10 a.m. at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, 250 Cathedral Place, the walk terminated at St. Peter’s Church, 16 Barclay Street, as Christians walking from borough to borough continued a tradition as old as the middle ages. The procession – which is sponsored by the Catholic lay organization Communion and Liberation — started with a choir welcoming walkers at St. James’ with Catholic Hymns followed by readings and blessings.
The Brooklyn Bridge walk started in 1996 with 25 people. Riro Maniscalco, one of its founders, said, “Throughout the years, it has become a tradition in a place like New York where traditions don’t always last that long. Yet, the Way of the Cross has been constantly growing. At this point, it’s a solid group of a couple thousand people.”
The Good Friday procession usually has 14 stops or “Stations of the Cross” that signify specific points and events in Christ’s journey to Golgotha, where he would be crucified. On this procession, however, they only make five to keep it from lasting too long, including one of the pillars on the Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall and, since 2002, Ground Zero.
At each station, members of the procession offer scripture readings, hymns, reflections and meditation. “In New York, Ground Zero is the first place that comes to mind when we think of human suffering,” Maniscalco noted. “So it’s fitting we stop there and offer our prayers and blessings.”
The presentation of the bread and the wine — which stand for the body and blood of Jesus Christ — was done by both Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn as well as Timothy Cardinal Dolan of Manhattan, signifying a collaboration of church efforts and bringing together the two boroughs in religious unity.