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Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/contact:larchstar@aol.com

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

April 12, 2007

GOOD FRIDAY AT ST. ANN'S - 2007

Adoration of the Cross in the afternoon brought a procession of solemn faces as each kissed the feet of Jesus, suggesting a strong personal identification with the Suffering Servant. Later, parish teenagers reenacted the Stations of the Cross with dramatic effectiveness. A solemn and reflective mood settled over the congregation as the falls of Jesus, His meetng with His mother, His interactions with Veronica, Simon of Cyrene, and the women of Jerusalem played out. Many in the pews were moved to tears; a strong sense of communal devotion was evident.

In the evening, a massive procession - estimated by the police at 1000 - moved solemnly around Ossining, led by the police in a patrol car and several motorcycles. Each Station of the Cross was reenacted at various neighborhood locations, beginning and ending on the church plaza. Roman soldiers were accoutered in dramatic uniforms, armed with swords and whips; Pilate in a colorful toga, and Jesus as a beaten and wounded individual. This was Latin American devotion at a high point, characteristic of street processions in Andean mountain villages and on the broad boulevards of Spanish colonial cities. The portrayal of the cruel treatment of Jesus could seem excessive to some observers. On reflection, the spiritual songs of African -Americans come to mind - "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" - indicating how a people who had experienced slavery identified so closely to Jesus. Similarly, Latin Americans have known poverty, exploitation, and governmental oppression. They readily identified with this Jesus. Perhaps an "Anglo" background locks so many of us in a pursuit of doctrinal purity; for the Hispanic, religion is more ritual, processions, the celebration of joy, and the recognition of suffering. St. Ann's people were caught up in all of this.

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