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Good Friday procession marking crucifixion focuses on hope, service

Published: Saturday, March 30 2013 12:07 a.m. MDT

Blake Goodfellow helps carry the cross in the Community Ecumenical Procession of the Cross for Good Friday in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 29, 2013.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Kaye Rachele-Flanery carried a cross in memory of Jesus Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday, also aware of the personal crosses we bear in daily life.

"It's our lives, we all carry burdens," she said, speaking of daily trials and relying on faith in Christ. "But it's the cross that keeps us going, that gives us hope."

Rachele-Flannery, a Cottonwood Heights resident, joined an ecumenical group in a procession between six downtown churches marking the Stations of the Cross, also known as the "via dolorosa," and joining local clergy in prayer, song and scripture readings telling of the crucifixion.

Many took turns carrying the large wooden cross, answering the call, "Who will carry the cross of Christ?"

Bishop John Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Utah urged parishioners to "pray for those who carry heavy crosses" as they pondered Jesus through the evening. The procession also helped raise money for Crossroads Urban Center's philanthropic work in the community.

At the different stations, several clergy echoed Wester with prayers asking to follow Christ's example and serve one another.

"Bless us to put this experience in our hearts, where we can be inspired and motivated," prayed pastor Nurjhan Govan of Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Kim and Eric Madsen of Salt Lake City said their family made the procession part of their celebration of Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday.

"Christ is my Savior, and I want to mark this time. … This is the time when he knew he was going to die, for the Atonement," Eric Madsen said. "This is just something that is marking this day, and looking forward to the risen Lord."

This is the second time the couple has participated in the procession, Kim Madsen said. The first time was 10 years ago, when Eric proposed.

Pastor Michael Imperiale of the First Presbyterian Church said the Stations of the Cross can symbolize different things for each person, but for many it is a representation of following in Christ's steps and acknowledging his sacrifice as the means to gain God's forgiveness.

"On Good Friday, the Friday before resurrection day, Easter, we remember the cross," Imperiale said. "But we do so with hope. … I think there are people here tonight who are looking for hope."

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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