- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007

Devi Guaydeen, in town from New York, didn’t plan to join a traveling procession commemorating the Crucifixion of Christ yesterday.

But Miss Guaydeen, a devout Christian with a Bible in her purse and a gold bracelet with “Jesus” embossed around her left wrist, just happened to be passing by the Mall, where a large group of Roman Catholics was holding an annual Way of the Cross.

“I came across them, and I’m a Christian, so I just joined them,” she said. “You can never get enough Jesus.”

Hundreds of area Catholics yesterday marked Good Friday by participating in the Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, a traditional procession commemorating the Passion of Jesus Christ and the walk to his Crucifixion.

Communion and Liberation, a Roman Catholic lay movement, commemorated the day on the Mall yesterday, carrying a large black cross from Capitol Hill to the Washington Monument.

The procession recognized the 14 Stations of the Cross, which are the scenes that depict Jesus’ suffering from his being sentenced to death to being laid in his tomb.

“Good Friday is both a remembrance of the events surrounding Christ’s death and a prayerful celebration of the meaning of his death,” said Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, who briefly accompanied the group during yesterday’s march.

“Jesus shows us what love can accomplish. It is capable of restoring people to forgiveness with God and one another,” he said. “At the heart of this is forgiveness, it all begins with forgiveness.”

About 200 people gathered at St. Peter’s Church in Southeast and marched through chilly winds to the Mall, stopping at various points to commemorate the 14 stations.

“There’s definitely a significance of marching through the city, and to be here in the center of town,” said Barbara Gagliotti, a teacher from Kensington. “Christ has redeemed the world.”

The Rev. Lee Fangmeyer, the pastor at St. Francis of Assisi in Derwood, read Scriptures during the ceremony.

“The answer to the mystery of our lives is in his pain, his suffering and his Resurrection,” he said.

Good Friday marks the anniversary of Jesus’ Crucifixion nearly 2,000 years ago.

Christians believe Jesus died for the sins of his followers and rose on Easter Sunday, the third day after his death, to open the gates of heaven.

“In Trinidad [and Tobago], where I’m from, Good Friday is a big deal,” Miss Guaydeen said. “No one goes to work.”

Other local churches celebrated the day with similar processions.

At St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Northwest, the Rev. Michael J. Kelley guided about 30 people through the neighborhood. He was joined by the Rev. Raymond C. Hart, who pastors Franklin P. Nash United Methodist Church in the same neighborhood.

“It’s a way to take our faith to the streets and pray for and with those who suffer in the way that Jesus suffered on that first Good Friday,” Father Kelley said.

Carla Brewster, 52, of Northeast, who walked with Father Kelley’s group, said the day reinforces the sacrifices made by Jesus.

“Sometimes when people see the cross they think it’s a decoration,” she said “It’s a reminder to me that all the things in the world that I’ve done are already forgiven.”

Vanessa Thompson, 48, of Crofton, said yesterday was her first time participating in the Way of the Cross and she was surprised at how spiritually uplifting it was for her.

“It’s a fabulous feeling, really,” she said. “It really takes you back and makes you think about the things Jesus has done for us.”

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