Hundreds of Christians attended the 31st Annual Via Crucis in the Southside of Milwaukee as passover began.
By H. Nelson Goodson
April 3, 2015
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – On Friday, the beginning of passover began for hundreds of Latinos and non-Latino Christians during Holy week that observed Good Friday with a Via Crucis, which is a re-enactment of the ritual that commemorates Jesus Christ suffering in the hours before his crucifixion. In Milwaukee, the Via Crucis began just after 1:00 p.m. at St. Vincent DePaul Parish, 2114 W. Mitchell St. with the re-enactment of the Last Supper. Then the Via Crucis was played out at every station until it ended at St. Anthony’s Church. The Christian event was sponsored by the Hispanic Ministry Office and Cultural Ministry of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.Parishioners and volunteers during the Via Crucis take up roles and undergo a mock crucifixion. This year, José Manuel Hernández and Victor Santiago played the role of Jesus Christ. While other volunteers read segments of the crucifixion in Spanish at each station stop along the route. The weather reached 37 degrees and was partly cloudy, but it didn’t keep the crowds from celebrating the Via Crucis this year.The Stations, or Way of the Cross, are a traditional method of meditating upon Christ’s Suffering and Death. In the Catholic church, you will find 14 images usually hanging on the wall. It is customary before each station to pray. The stations are, I. Jesus is condemned to death. II. Jesus takes up his Cross. III. Jesus falls the first time. IV. Jesus meets his sorrowful Mother. V. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross. VI. Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus. VII. Jesus falls a second time. VIII. Jesus meet the Women of Jerusalem. IX. Jesus falls the third time. X. Jesus is stripped of his garments. XI. Jesus is nailed to the Cross. XII. Jesus dies on the Cross. XIII. Jesus is taken down from the Cross. XIV. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn. It is very usual, when the devotion is performed publicly, to sing a stanza of the “Stabat Mater” while passing from one Station to the next.
On Sunday, is the observance of Easter by Western Christians. This years cost of the Via Crucis was estimated at more than $2,000, which included permits, and police escort throughout the south side route, according to a Via Crucis organizer who publicly announced that donations were being requested to help defray this year’s cost.
In previous year’s, the Via Crucis cost was estimated at more than $5K.
Milwaukee’s Southside 31st Annual Via Crucis/ Last Supper: https://youtu.be/yJ45yEV6LZ0
Via Crucis celebration in Milwaukee: https://youtu.be/Z-B5JhMKgVg