Today I walked the Way of the Cross through the frigid streets of New York with Pax Christi. For twenty-five years this Catholic peace group has organized this Good Friday event as a public witness to the Passion of Christ and its relationship to issues of justice and peace.
I. We prayed the First Station “Jesus is condemned to death” at the United Nations around the theme of torture. “Jesus, victim of torture, help us help all victims of torture.”
II. We prayed the Second Station “Jesus is made to carry the cross” opposite the Nigerian Consulate around the theme of Darur. “May we find the strength to defend those who have no voice.”
III. We prayed the Third Station “Jesus falls the first time” across from the Jewish Simon Wiesenthal Tolerance Center around the theme of discrimination, particularly against Middle Eastern people. “Forgive our violence toward each other.”
IV. We prayed the Fourth Station “Jesus meets his mother” in front of the Pfizer Pharaceutical Company seeking a world initiative to eradicate AIDS. “Loving God, open our hearts to your word.”
V. We prayed the Fifth Station “Simon of Cyrene is forced to help carry the cross” on 42nd Street and 3rd Avenue in front of many shops and the Woolworth Tower around the themes of employment, wages and immigration. “Te lo pedimos, Senor (We ask you, O God).”
VI. We prayed the Sixth Station “Veronica wipes the face of Jesus” in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Grand Central Station around the theme of helping the stranger. “God of mercy and justice, hear our prayer.”
VII. We prayed the Seventh Station “Jesus falls the second time” near the commercial banks of Madison Avenue on the theme of We, the privileged; we, the disenfranchised. “Oyenos, O Dios! (Hear us, O God)!”
VIII. We prayed the Eighth Station “Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem” opposite the New York Public Library around the theme of education, a national priority? “We pray that no child is denied the joys and happiness of a true childhood.”
IX. We prayed the Ninth Station “Jesus falls the third time” opposite Bryant Park on the theme of mother earth falling under the weight of consumerism. “Forgive us all.”
X. We prayed the Tenth Station “Jesus is stripped of his garments” on a grungy city street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway remembering our city stripped of affordable housing, “O God, hear our prayer.”
XI. We prayed the Eleventh Station “Jesus is nailed to the cross” at the busiest Armed Forces Recruiting Station in the country seeing our society nailed to the cross of militarization. “God of peace, forgive us.”
XII. We prayed the Twelfth Station “Jesus dies on the cross” at the same location in Times Square in opposition to the death penalty. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
XIII. We prayed the Thirteenth Station “Jesus is taken down from the cross” in front of the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurant asking the question, Will this culture sustain us? “Enough for everyone, forever!”
XIV. We prayed the Fourteenth Station “Jesus is laid in the tomb” beneath Disney Enterprises, Madame Tussaud’s and many garish billboards recognizing our need to find quiet space in the busy city for Jesus. “O God, help us to hear you.”
XV. We prayed the Fifteenth and final Station “The Resurrection of Jesus” in a spirit of recommitment. “We lay down our sword and shield. We will not study war any more.”
WHO WILL SPEAK IF WE DON’T? WHO WILL SPEAK IF WE DON’T?
WHO WILL SPEAK SO THEIR VOICE WILL BE HEARD? OH, WHO WILL SPEAK IF WE DON’T?