Good Friday was observed on both sides of the border today with dramatic reenactments of the Passion of the Christ.
The event that took place in San Diego’s Barrio Logan had special meaning for parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church near the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
Most of the 3,100 parishioners at the Catholic Church on Kearney Avenue are Mexican immigrants. The Biblical scenes that unfolded on the residential and industrial streets of their neighborhood were familiar to them.
“You see this in various parts of Mexico,” said Javier Mozo, about the reenactment of Christ’s final hours.
Mozo is active with a volunteer group at the church called Communities Evangelizing for Reconciliation and Service that recommended using the streets to stage the reenactment three years ago.
“It’s a way to revive our Catholic faith. People who see this get emotional,” Mozo said. “This is such a big part of Hispanic culture.”
The reenactment began at the church with Jesus being condemned to death under Pontius Pilate and spilled onto the streets as he was led to his crucifixion.
Parishioners dressed as Roman guards mocked and pretended to strike a bloodied Jesus as he struggled to carry his cross. Hundreds of parishioners followed, some snapping photos, others singing prayer songs.
The reenactment followed the so-called 14 Stations of the Cross, which depict scenes of Christ’s chief sufferings and death. The 14th
station is when Jesus is laid in a tomb, which in the reenactment happened in a parking lot with a high grassy area where the crucifixion took place.
“Traditionally, the fifteenth station is when Jesus rises from the tomb,” said Father Robert Fambrini, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, referring to Easter Sunday.
At each station during the reenactment, Sister Ofelia Aguilera, a Tijuana-based nun, explained the scene and related it to Christian themes about suffering, sacrifice, compassion, understanding and justice.
Father Fambrini said these are relevant themes for the working poor who make up a large part of the
parish. “They seek hope and life. They’re surrounded by death often times, with a lack of jobs and poverty and lack of health care.”
Twenty-year-old Carlos Alberto Abarca, who works at a car wash, said he was thankful that he got to play the role of Jesus.
“We’re not professionals,” he said. “Thank God everything went well. We’re all believers.”