By Maureen Cromer and Paul McMullen
Catholic Review Staff
Many Catholics across the Archdiocese of Baltimore did not wait until 3 p.m. to publicly express their faith on Good Friday.
In Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori led an early morning Cross Walk March 25 from the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori to Planned Parenthood on Howard Street.
Wendy Hoff and her son Lolek kneel as part of the Good Friday Way of the Cross walk from The National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori on Saratoga Street in Baltimore to Planned Parenthood on Howard Street. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)
In Aberdeen later that morning, St. Joan of Arc Parish served as the terminus of an interfaith Cross Walk that began a half mile to the northeast at Grace United Methodist Church. A gathering of approximately 150 also included members of Grove Presbyterian Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Father William F. Franken, pastor, read from the Gospel of John at St. Joan of Arc, concluding this year’s observance of a ritual begun by Father Samuel Young, his predecessor, shortly after the turn of the millennium.
Deacon Ray Van Pelt, left, and Richard Berndt, pastoral associate and director of faith formation, far right, both with St. Joan of Arc Parish in Aberdeen, lead parishioners on a Stations of the Cross walk down South Law Street as part of an ecumenical Good Friday service with Grace United Methodist Church. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)
“Father Sam had a vision,” said Mary Beth Nocket, a St. Joan of Arc parishioner. “We’re all Christians, and we can all enjoy fellowship together. We’ll all follow one God, it’s just different forms of worship.”
Nocket is co-leader of the parish’s Women’s Fellowship Ministry. Her son, Nathan, is St. Joan of Arc’s youth minister.
The Aberdeen walk, which included a police escort, consisted of six Stations of the Cross, starting with Jesus Accepts the Cross.
St. Joan of Arc School in Aberdeen student, Joseph Richard, helps carry the cross as part of an ecumenical Stations of the Cross walk held by St. Joan of Arc Parish and Grace United Methodist Church. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)
Down South Law Street, en route to St. Joan of Arc, under a seemingly appropriate dreary sky, men, members of the different congregations took turns carrying the cross, followed by a group that included wheelchairs and children in strollers.
“We’re expressing our common belief about Jesus and his crucifixion,” Father Franken said. “This is an opportunity to publicly evangelize, a way to offer witness to the people of Aberdeen about our faith. There is a sense of commitment to this.”
That effort included a light lunch of egg salad, tuna salad, peanut butter and jelly, and grilled cheese sandwiches served in the St. Joan of Arc hall.
For Father Franken and his staff, the weekend will include an Easter Vigil March 26 in which one catechumen (the un-baptized) and seven candidates (those already baptized in another Christian church), will be welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Pilgrims stop in prayer for the unborn in Baltimore. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)
In Baltimore, meanwhile, prior to a Cross Walk of approximately a quarter mile, Archbishop Lori said, “As we make this way of the cross, we ask the crucified Lord to help us in cherishing, protecting and promoting the gift of life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.”
Pilgrims carried a large wooden cross, stopping on the sidewalk along the way to pray the Stations of the Cross. As the pilgrims stood vigil in front of the abortion clinic, passersby stopped and joined them in praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary.
Linda Brenegan, director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office, called Planned Parenthood a “modern-day Calvary.”
“We see Christ crucified again and again in the lives of the babies that are lost,” she said, “the wounded parents and the wounded workers. We stand in solidarity at the place where innocence is crucified.”
Click here to watch a video report on the Aberdeen walk.
Maureen Cromer reported from Baltimore, Paul McMullen from Aberdeen.