Remembering the Way of the Cross

Dioceses perform live reenactments of the Stations of the Cross

The Way of the Cross is a devotion that honors Christ’s final journey of His earthly life. It is based on the 14 significant events of His crucifixion — the Stations of the Cross — beginning with His sentencing, continuing with His carrying the cross through Jerusalem and ending with His burial.

Every year on Good Friday, Catholic communities throughout the world reenact the Way of the Cross with live performances of the story. It is a powerful reminder of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice for us.

Young and old come to watch the performance in Easton.

In the Diocese of Fresno, California, several parishes stage their own versions of Living Stations of the Cross with colorful costumes, long processions and large crowds of pilgrims and onlookers.

This tradition is strong in two towns, Kingsburg and Easton, both of which have significant migrant populations.

The procession in Easton, shown here, has more than 400 participants, many of whom are day laborers who must sacrifice their daily wages to attend.

In this scene in Kingsburg, Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea, sentences Jesus to death (first station).
Jesus carries the cross through the fields of Easton. The man in the role of Jesus, Alberto Varela, has participated in the event three times, and this is his first time playing Jesus. “The procession brings us all together, helps us become a solid community and builds our faith,” he said.
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross (fifth station).
A gathering of 300 people in Kingburg experiences the Living Stations of the Cross and watches as Jesus falls. Many of the performers and participants are migrant workers in Kingsburg, which is headquarters of Sun-Maid, the largest raisin and dried fruit processor in the world.
Veronica (center) holds the cloth with which she has wiped the face of Jesus (sixth station).

The Hispanic ministry coordinator for the Diocese of Fresno, Brenda Noriega — whose salary Catholic Extension funds — works with faith communities throughout the diocese, including Kingsburg and Easton, to support these annual processions and to strengthen migrants’ connection to the Church. Click the button below to support the work of lay leaders like Brenda.