Social service agencies come together at Good Friday ‘Way of the Cross’

STATIONS OF THE CROSS—Dozens of worshippers gathered to walk the way of Jesus during the annual Good Friday Way of the Cross in Springfield at the historic Jefferson Avenue Footbridge on March 30. Now in its 10th year, the interdenominational and bilingual event gathered together various social service agencies and churches within the community to lead each “Station,” in order to highlight the command of Jesus to love and serve. Bishop Edward M. Rice closed the event. A photo gallery of this event may be found HERE.(Photo by Dean Curtis/The Mirror)

Now in its 10th year, the annual Springfield Good Friday Way of the Cross was held at noon, on March 30, at the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge on historic Commercial Street. Several dozen gathered to pray and highlight the command of Jesus to love and serve.

“The Cross was carried from station-to-station by the various agencies engaged in assisting the poor and needy in the area,” said Sr. Francis Wessel, SSND, who helped coordinate the 2018 event. “Though initiated by the Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, the 10-year tradition is interdenominational and bilingual, and it engages various community personnel who meet a variety of needs for children and adults in our community.”

Along with Sr. Wessel, coordinators of this year’s traditional observance were Teresa Pope, Cindy Berry, and Sr. Jeanne Goessling, SSND.

Love born of suffering

Welcoming remarks opened the Way of the Cross and were provided by Dr. Martin Mittelstadt, of Evangel University, who is also a member of the Roman Catholic-Pentecostal dialogue in southern Missouri.

“We gather this afternoon to express our desire to walk the way of the Cross along with all who suffer in our world today,” Mittelstadt said. “The root of the word ‘compassion’ means ‘to suffer with,’ and it is in the cross of Jesus that God shares divine compassion.”

Other presenters who provided reflections on service and loving our neighbor included Fr. Javier Reyes, CMF, Director, Catholic Campus Ministry, Springfield; Fr. Denis Dougherty, OSB, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Springfield; and Fr. Gaspar Masilamani, CMF, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Springfield.

“Bless us on this journey today, with Jesus our Savior: As our feet follow His walk, may our hearts be open to the presence of Christ in everyone we see,” Mittelstadt said. “May our hearts respond joyfully to our baptismal call to be servants.”

Agencies that took a “Station” during the Good Friday Stations of the Cross and provided context and reflection were: Station 1: “Poverty,” Center City Christian Outreach, Well of Life; Station 2: “Sanctity of Life,” Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center; Station 3: “Education,” Victory Mission; Station 4: “Immigrants and Refugees,” Hispanic Committee at Sacred Heart Parish; Station 5: “Violence in Society,” Catholic Prison Ministry; Station 6: “Homelessness,” The Kitchen, Inc.; Station 7: “The Alienated,” Community Partnership of the Ozarks, One Door; Station 8: “Consolation,” Council of Churches of the Ozarks, Safe to Sleep; Station 9: “Broken Families,” Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield; Station 10: “Hunger,” St. Vincent de Paul Society; Station 11: “Capital Punishment,” Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty; Station 12: “Reaching Out, Providing Hope, Changing Lives,” Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri; Station 13: “Pregnant Women in Crisis,” LifeHouse Crisis Maternity Home; and Station 14: “Spiritual Poverty,” Council of Churches of the Ozarks, Connections Handyman Services.

Bishop Edward Rice concluded the hour-long observance with Scriptural references and remarks on the Commandment to love.

A worship aid may be found HERE.

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