by Rons Bantwal
Daijiworld Media Network - Mumbai
Mumbai, Mar 21: Christians-nuns, priests and the laity turned up in large numbers for the tradituional stations of the cross held on good friday, which started at this morning from sacred heart church in khar west. Thousands of pilgrims walked several kilometers in the scorching heat in an annual Lenten observance. Even as they abstained and denied themselves food and drink. The pilgrims sang hymns and prayed expressing solidarity with the social activists, tribal girls, nuns and the driver of an NGO who were brutally assaulted by communal elements in Alibauh, Raigad.
The serpentine procession organized by the communal organizations. The CROSS and the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) wended its way from Santacruz west through the golibar subway across the western express highway up to Kalina, bordering Kurla and returned to Vakola for the grand finale.
Various scenes from the suffering, passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ were enacted along the streets, even as thousands of the faithful prayed devoutly and mourned the death of Jesus. The walking pilgrimage was accompanied by a tableu depicted various Calvary scenes with biblical characters acting out the arrest and the last few hours of what is believed to have happened over 2000 years. Similar enactments are known to happen in the Phillipines and Latin America with a couple of Chritians actually being nailed to a cross to experience in a small way the suffering of Jesus on the first good Friday.
In India though this is the only place where the stations of the cross are enacted on the streets accompanied by hi-fi sound and special effects, with the pilgrimage fasting and full of religious fervour.
A major highlight every year at the strike of 3' O'clock in the afternoon (when Jesus is believed to have died) is when pilgrims pray for special intentions as it is believed to be a moment of grace and blessings. The good Friday, the brutal communal attacks in Orissa and nearer at home in Alibugh cast its shadow on the twin intentions prayed for these were below.
Freedom of religion and from persecution or violation of basic human rights Communal peace and harmony
The 15 Stations of the Cross enacted sequences such as the arrest of Jesus. Jesus being sentenced by Pontius Pilate, the falls of Jesus, Jesus meeting the women of Jerusalem, his mother and disciples of the cross. Veronica wiping the face of Jesus etc. Another objective of the day was to acquaint non Christians of what happens on good Friday, since many are of the misconceptions that it is the feast and not one of mourning, fasting, penance, sacrifice, abstinence, mortification, etc.