BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Hundreds gathered on East Main Street in Bridgeport to take part in a solemn Good Friday procession, stopping along the way to relive the 14 Stations of the Cross on Jesus’s route to his crucifixion.
The smell of incense permeated the air before a flatbed truck carrying the actors portraying Jesus and two Roman soldiers moved slowly through what is usually a busy East Side street. Participants prayed and sang hymns and songs in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Creole, reflecting the diverse populations of Christians represented throughout Bridgeport.
“My faith brings me here,” said Maria Silvestri of Ansonia, a Portuguese woman who brought her whole family to the procession. “I truly believe. And it gives us peace in this world and love, so we can understand each other.”
The Most Rev. Frank Caggiano, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, led the faithful, stepping off at St. Mary Parish on Sherman Street.
“Make us feel the needs of all people, so that we might readily help them, as we would Jesus himself,” he prayed.
From there, the procession moved along East Main Street, passing St. Charles Borromeo Church.
The events of Good Friday, the day Christians believe Jesus was crucified on a cross, are commemorated in the Stations of the Cross. The 14-step devotion is often performed by Catholics and Christians during Lent and especially on Good Friday as the faithful prepare to celebrate Easter, the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead.
Similar events were held in churches across Fairfield County as well as one another walk along Route 1 in Darien as part Christians looked to commemorate Good Friday.
Curious residents hung out of their windows and stood outside barber shops and bodegas, capturing the scene on their cellphones. Some crossed themselves or joined in singing with the walkers.
The procession ended at Our Lady of Fatima Church, where the actors commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus and two others on crosses in the parking lot. Some wiped away tears as Jesus was placed in a wooden tomb.
“Thank you for walking with Jesus this morning,” Caggiano told the crowd. “Our celebration is over. Let us go in peace.”
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