In East Harlem, Good Friday Procession Draws 1,500 Faithful Walkers

| 04/3/2024

By: Armando Machado

Bishop Edmund Whalen joined the marchers and co-led a prayer service

On Third Avenue, a man portrays Jesus during a Stations of the Cross procession in East Harlem, Good Friday, March 29, 2024.
On Third Avenue, a man portrays Jesus during a Stations of the Cross procession in East Harlem, Good Friday, March 29, 2024. Photo by Armando Machado/The Good Newsroom

In an annual Good Friday procession in East Harlem, parishioners from five parishes marked the day with prayers, hymns, and hope – walking up Third Avenue from St. Francis de Sales Church on East 96th Street to St. Paul/Holy Rosary Church on East 117th Street.

The 70-minute Stations of the Cross through El Barrio, as the event is officially known, featured Auxiliary Bishop Edmund Whalen at its front. Bishop Whalen also led the prayer service at St. Paul/Holy Rosary that concluded the procession, together with that parish’s pastor, Father Alejandro Garcia. The walk, in cool, sunny weather and with police escort, began just before noon with about 350 people outside St. Francis de Sales, growing to more than 1,500 as parishioners from nearby parishes and beyond joined along Third Avenue.                   

Other participating parishes included Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Ann’s/St. Lucy, and St. Cecilia/Holy Agony. The event, conducted in Spanish and English, included a man dressed as Jesus carrying the cross, and several organizers using microphones and bullhorns, taking turns reading the Via Crucis occurrences of the Stations. Many pedestrians looked on from the sidewalks, some using their cell phones to take photos and videos.

“The tradition of the procession through El Barrio is a sign of the deep faith of the people of our archdiocese, and especially of the Latino community, coming from all different countries,” Bishop Whalen told The Good Newsroom as he and other clergymen walked at the front of the procession on East 117th Street.  

“We all come together, and we know that Jesus walks the streets with us. And as we walk the streets with Him, He helps us to carry our crosses…and He brings us new life at Easter. It’s so wonderful that all the parishes of East Harlem come together as one family of faith, one voice of faith to bring Jesus into the streets for others,” Bishop Whalen said.

Ninfa Escobar, a parishioner of St. Luke’s Church in the Bronx, said, “I’m here so as to not to lose this tradition; it was the tradition of my parents. And now I’m here with my granddaughter, passing on the tradition to her. It is a very special day.” Escobar was pushing a stroller occupied by her young granddaughter, Maseley.  

Another participant, Eduardo Vimas, while in the procession on Third Avenue said, “This is for Jesus Christ, that is why I participate – and with much emotion, from the heart. He is the only Savior.” Vimas is a parishioner of St. Paul/Holy Rosary.

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