Dozens of faiths join Catholic church to honor Christ by walking ‘Way of the Cross’

ST. GEORGE — Hundreds walked the 14th annual “Ecumenical Way of the Cross” on Friday, to follow the key steps of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, and to bring members of different Christian faiths together in unity.

The Rev. Tom Fiske of Grace Episcopal Church carries carries the cross at the “Way of the Cross,” St. George, Utah, April 19, 2019 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

The event started out at Sandtown Park on Bluff Street from which the group made the one-mile walk down Diagonal Street to the Saint George Catholic Church, stopping as they went to observe each of the 15 stations. As they walked, they were led in singing the hymn, “Were You There.”

The Way of the Cross, otherwise known as the “Stations of the Cross,” is held by Catholic churches across the world every year on Good Friday. The practice first began in the third century when early travelers to Jerusalem would stop and pray at each of the sites associated with Jesus’ suffering and death, according to the Way of the Cross brochure.

“For us, it’s to really embrace what we are. To really see God’s love. That’s what it is. It is not about only suffering, it’s about embracing his love. Because at the end of the day when we are done, especially this holy week, we are going to see Jesus resurrected. Which means God’s love for us,” the Rev. Oscar Martin of Saint George Catholic Church said.

This is the last year that Martin will participate in the Way of the Cross in St. George, as he is scheduled to be transferred to another location soon.

The Way of the Cross in St. George is different from most because it includes leaders and members of all Christian faiths, not just Catholics.

Faith leaders pray at the “Way of the Cross,” St. George, Utah, April 19, 2019 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

“What we have here in St. George is unique because you could travel the world and not find this many churches gathered together in a spirit of unity. Not putting aside those things that we don’t see alike, but rejoicing in the things we have in common,” the Rev. Jimi Kestin of Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship said.

At the stations, the group would stop and a faith leader from a different church would read from the Scriptures and pray. After the reading, the leader would take a turn carrying a large wooden cross to the next station.

All of the faith leaders in attendance were members of the St. George Interfaith Council, and many Christian churches, including Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, American Baptist, the Foursquare Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were represented, among others.

“Many of them say it’s such a joy to be here, and it is. And it’s such a joy for us to have them too. It gives an even greater depth to what we’re doing, what we’re praying, when we all come together in such a unified manner. That unity is what really speaks to me,” Vice President of the St. George Interfaith Council Carole Drake, representing the Saint George Catholic Church, said.

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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