Stations of the Cross procession in Bridgeport
BRIDGEPORT — More than 2,000 people gathered Friday to follow Itamar Santos as he walked through the city’s streets portraying Jesus Christ on his way to crucifixion, a solemn reminder of the sacrifice at the foundation of Christian belief.
The Living Stations of the Cross procession, observed Friday in Bridgeport with prayers in five different languages, imitates the path Christ is said to have taken through Jerusalem on Good Friday.
The stations, 14 in all, each represent a different step on Christ’s journey. The procession stops at each station for prayers and reflections.
The event is a way for Christians to remember his sacrifice, said Rev. Rolando Torres, pastor of St. Mary Roman Catholic Parish on Sherman Street, where Friday’s procession began with the first station, Jesus sentenced to death, with prayers in Spanish.
“This day is for the Lord and we do it for him,” Torres said. “The idea is to create a spirit of the holiness of Good Friday.”
Christ went to his crucifixion voluntarily, Torres said, “because he loves us, and that’s one of the reasons we want to remember this day.”
Torres said the observance of the Stations of the Cross has grown from four churches to nine this year, with prayers in Spanish, English, Creole, Vietnamese and Portuguese along the way.
“It’s not a celebration,” Torres said. “We call it a reminder. It’s a memorial, a moment of encounter with Christ. Because this day for us is a very important day in terms of the faith.”