Good Friday was a long day for the missionaries, but one filled with many graces. We walked alongside Christ at a living stations of the cross through Little Mexico, involved St. Bart’s teens in our door-to-door mission efforts, served the homeless at a nearby soup kitchen, participated in the celebration of Our Lord’s Passion at the parish, and watched the Passion of the Christ.
The living stations were a very powerful experience for many, bringing to life the story we’ve all heard a thousand times. The young man playing the part of Jesus actually carried his own enormous cross 12 blocks and was whipped along the way.
Even with my ankle being in the state it is, I couldn’t stand to miss this opportunity. At first I just hoped to keep up with the massive crowd, but I soon found a way to have a great view without putting my ankle in too much danger. I ended up just feet away from Jesus, actually walking right in step with his disciples. Coincidence? I think not.
Meeting back up with our group after the stations finished was a feat, and after a long ride home in traffic, all of us exhausted and hungry missionaries arrived back “home” to St. Bart’s for lunch. We walked downstairs to get our food and to our surprise, we saw 35 teens from the parish waiting to do mission work with us! We had only expected a few to show, if any, so this was a shock and challenge for everybody.
Immediately, the missionaries were introducing themselves to them and explaining the basics of door-to-door missions. Before long, 45 Mission Youth t-shirts spread out through the neighborhood and 11 more piled into cars to go to a local soup kitchen. The results of both were impressive. The teens had a unique experience of their faith which they really enjoyed and the soup kitchen goers made some new homeless friends.
After a moving veneration of the cross and some hilarious shenanigans, the missionaries settled down to watch the Passion of the Christ, some for the first time ever.
When the missionaries shared today what their most memorable Holy Week was, one said, “This year. Before, I just went to the stuff at church but now I know why and I actually really want to do it. It just means a lot more now.”