BRIDGEPORT—“Today we walked in the footsteps of our Lord. We walked through the streets of Bridgeport proclaiming that our faith is alive in our hearts,” Bishop Frank Caggiano said in the parking lot of Our Lady of Fatima Church after the enactment of the 14th Station of the Cross.
More than 2,500 people walked through the East Side of Bridgeport this morning for the Living Stations of the Cross, a moving public testimony of faith.
As traffic stopped at the intersections and people looked out the windows of local businesses, many seemed hushed by the striking imagery of Christ and the Roman soldiers that passed on the flatbed truck that led the procession.
The somber and reverent three-hour Stations of the Cross stopped at four Churches and covered more than a mile as men, women and children walked in prayerful silence through the historic city neighborhood bound by railroad tracks, I-95 and Yellow Mill River.
Led by Bishop Caggiano and area pastors the faithful prayed and sang in Spanish, English, Portuguese and Polish, reflecting the history and diversity of the parishes along the way.
The procession grew larger as it wound its way through the city past barbershops and storefront churches, corner variety stores and mini markets.
People of all ages leaned out the windows of the two and three-family houses and small brick apartments that lined the streets.
Some waved, many recorded the procession on their smart phones. Others briefly joined in prayer before the procession moved on.
The faithful walked under the Bradford Pear trees, cherries and crab apples just coming into blossom and etching the route with a blush of Spring color.
The procession began in front of St. Mary’s Church as Fr. Rolando Torres welcomed the Bishop and called the gathering to prayer.
“Let us take a moment to recall our sinfulness and that Jesus died for our sins,” Bishop Caggiano said. “Let us ask for his forgiveness.”
“Perdónanos Señor, “(Forgive us O Lord), the people sang to begin the procession..
As the gathering stopped for the second Station, a large wooden cross was passed from the back of the procession to the front on the outstretched arms of those who lifted it overhead, one hand after another moving it forward.
When the gathering stopped in front of St. Michael the Archangel Church on Pulaski Street, the prayers and songs were led in Polish by Fr. Michael Nowak, pastor.
Across from the Church, a large mural of Saint Pope John Paul II had been painted on the side of a building.
Fr. Francisco Gomez-Franco led the prayers when the procession stopped in front of St. Charles Church, where he serves as Pastor.
After processing across Boston Avenue, men, women and children knelt in the asphalt parking lot under a strong sun to complete the Stations behind Our Lady of Fatima Church.
The bishop thanked all those who participated in the Stations and asked the faithful to leave in silence in keeping with the somber spirit of God Friday.
“They have pierced my hands and feet. They have numbered all of my wounds,” the Bishop said, urging them to reflect on Christ’s redemptive suffering in preparation for Easter.