Hundreds walk ‘Way of the Cross’ together to show unity, faith in Jesus Christ

ST. GEORGE — Hundreds of people belonging to various Christian faiths walked the streets of St. George together Friday morning as they took part in the 13th annual “Ecumenical Way of the Cross.”

Father Oscar Martin of Saint George Catholic Church said the annual event, held on Good Friday each year, commemorates the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Participants observed each of 14 “stations of the cross” by walking several blocks from the Bluff Street Park to the Saint George Catholic Church, stopping at each of the stations for a few minutes as prayers and Scriptures were recited. In between each station, members of the crowd sang the hymn, “Were You There?” as they walked.

The Rev. Ralph Clingan, of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, speaks during ninth station at the 13th annual “Ecumenical Way of the Cross” interfaith event, St. George, Utah, March 30, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

A final 15th station celebrating the resurrection of Christ was observed at the culmination of the hour-long event in the church’s parking lot. There, Father Arokia Dass David of the Saint George Catholic Church quoted from Scriptures proclaiming Christ’s resurrection, saying, “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him.”

“Stations of the Cross” observations at Eastertime have been a staple of many Catholic churches worldwide for centuries, but the Saint George Catholic Church celebration is a truly interfaith event. Ministers, pastors and representatives of more than a dozen different faiths took part Friday.

The Rev. Jimi Kestin, of Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship, who is also a member of the St. George Interfaith Council, said he looks forward to leading the 12th station each year – the segment detailing Christ’s death on the cross.

Of all the community events the Interfaith Council conducts throughout the year, he said, “This one is special to those of us who worship Jesus Christ, because we gather together with a sense of unity that you just will not see anywhere else.”

“It’s wonderful to see the sense of unity that binds us together,” agreed the Rev. Michael Chamness, of Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church, who led  the 10th station.

Pastor Arthur Drehman, of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, carries cross during 13th annual “Ecumenical Way of the Cross” interfaith event, St. George, Utah, March 30, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“Instead of having our own, let us open it to all,” Martin said of the decision made more than a decade ago to invite the entire Christian community to participate. “It is better to share … and I think all of us here share that same faith in Christ.”

The Rev. Lee Montgomery, of the Spirit of the Desert Episcopal Church, said he’s enjoyed watching the event grow over the years.

“I can remember when it first started with a handful of people,” he said, “It seems to get bigger and better every year.

“I think it’s wonderful. It’s an opportunity for churches to get together and celebrate the things we have in common. This is something we can all come together on every year.”

Added Greg Davies, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who led the second station: “We all worship the same God. We’re more alike than we are different. As we celebrate Christ and focus on him, many of our differences will fall away.”

An estimated 200-plus people were in the crowd at the beginning of the event, with many others joining in along the way as the procession made its way along Diagonal Street. The crowd appeared to have doubled in size to at least 400 people by the end of the end of the mile-long walk.

Two St. George Police officers on bicycles helped direct traffic safely around the crowd as they walked down the streets.

The 15 stations were conducted, in order, by the following religious leaders: 1. Father Oscar Martin, Saint George Catholic Church; 2. Greg Davies, LDS missionary; 3. Carmella Fitzpatrick, Unity Center of Positive Living; 4. Fr. Tom Fiske, Grace Episcopal Church; 5. Doug Sudnick, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church; 6. Alex Wilkie (retired), American Baptist Church; 7. The Rev. Lee Montgomery, Spirit of the Desert Episcopal Church; 8. Pastor Joe Doherty, New Promise Lutheran Church; 9. The Rev. Ralph Clingan, Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church; 10. The Rev. Michael Chamness, Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church; 11. Lt. Saul Smoak, Salvation Army; 12. The Rev. Jimi Kestin, Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship; 13. Laura Fairchild, Baha’i faith; 14. The Rev. Jonathan Hendren, New Beginning Christian Fellowship; and 15. Father Arokia Dass David, Saint George Catholic Church.

Ed. note: Due to a last-minute change, Doug Sudnick substituted for Pastor Arthur Drehman as the representative for Our Savior’s Lutheran Church at the fifth station. 

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Events, Local, NewsTagged , , , , , ,

4 Comments

  • comments March 31, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Some of the kids got dragged along, but in general you don’t see young adults doing stuff like this. The old mainstream religions are dying out. The attendance of the catholic church and most churches around here are a bunch of very aged people if you don’t count the mexicans. And that isn’t only because STG is like a big nursing home. In general, younger people don’t do religion anywhere, with mormonism being kind of an exception and an anomaly. The younger crowd in the catholic church is made up of what I’d predict is 90% “undocumented immigrants”, and there are quite a few that attend. That would explain why both priests need to be fluent spanish speakers. I’m not a fan of any churches. Realized a long time ago it’s all about the $$$.

    • ladybugavenger April 1, 2018 at 8:45 am

      It’s very sad when hard working people,give their 10%, some of those people are hungry and need groceries, but in faith give., and then the pastor of the church is a millionaire (Joel osteen) it’s seems so wrong. (Joel osteen doesn’t even open a Bible, he just lifts it in the air and they all say a chant) it’s in every religion. It’s very sad.

      • comments April 1, 2018 at 11:27 am

        Joes Osteen and similar creatures are tools of Satan, any preacher that becomes rich most likely is.

    • peteristherock April 11, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Hello,

      I appreciate your comment. The one who asserts shares the burden of proof, please provide foundation for your opinions. First, the “old mainstream religions are dying out” is simply a flawed opinion. There are approximately 40-50,000 Protestant churches, one created every 24 hours. After two thousand years, the Church founded by Jesus Christ (Catholic Church) remains visible and ever present in our society (see Matthew 16:18). St. Ignatious of Antioch, first used the term “Catholic” in 107 AD in a letter to the Sumerians. Catholicism means “universal”. Who promulgated the Bible for the entire world, the Catholic Church (see Where we got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church, by Henry Grey Graham). Who created orphanages, hospitals, scientific method, universities, among many other things in the Western world, the Catholic Church (see How the Catholic Church Created Western Civilization, by Thomas Woods). With regards to your comment “it’s all about the $$$,” not one institution feeds, clothes, houses, etc more people than the Catholic Church. It is the largest charitable organization in the world. There are ~1.5 billion Catholics in the world. Catholicism is not a denomination it is the common denominator which Christ himself establish with St. Peter. The Catholic Church was present in the first, second, third, fourth…centuries.

      Finally, you opine that “the Catholic Church is made up of what I’d predict is 90% undocumented immigrants” is again simply without foundation. The link below pew research study would appear to dispute your position (please see the link below). Yours in Christ.

      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/09/14/a-closer-look-at-catholic-america/

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.