By Tim Harfmann
For the solemn service at Saint James Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn, it was standing room only as worshippers packed the pews and entrance on Good Friday. “It’s a day where we remember Christ’s death, and it’s a day that we remember many other innocent people who have died in the world today. This is a violent world where many innocent people give their lives,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who led the service. After the prayers, Bishop DiMarzio was joined by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the pope’s ambassador to the United Nations, for the Way of the Cross procession over the Brooklyn Bridge. The walk symbolizes the Lord’s path to his crucifixion. “Christ suffered for us, and we have to also suffer for the world. We have to join our sufferings to the work of Christ in redeeming the world,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
The procession was a collaboration with Communion and Liberation, a Catholic, international lay movement. Raquel Isaza is a member of the group; “New York City is such a big, big melting pot. And in such a public place, like the Brooklyn Bridge, we can all get together.”
The Catholics prayed the Stations of the Cross and picked up other worshippers along the way. “Like the pope said, ‘go to the ends to meet the people.’ So, we go over the bridge meeting other people,” said Isaza. The symbolic procession ended near the World Trade Center. “I’m really excited and I feel emotional. I’m really happy to see a lot of people having the Holy Week in their hearts,” said Sheyla Curtis, who participated in the procession.
Bishop DiMarzio also led the Good Friday service at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal. It included reading the Lord’s Passion, the bishop’s homily and Communion, before worshippers processed through the streets of Ridgewood, Queens. Father Anthony Sansone is the church’s pastor and said the procession draws the attention of those who may have turned away from the Church. Worshippers processed to the neighboring Saint Aloysius Church and back. Bishop DiMarzio later led a prayer service in Italian.