BUSHWICK — The streets of Bushwick became a Via Dolorosa Friday as hundreds of Catholics marked Good Friday with a procession between two neighborhood churches.
The somber group sang prayers in Spanish as they marked the Stations of the Cross during their march from St. Martin of Tours Catholic church on Hancock Street and ended more than two hours later at the sister parish Our Lady of Lourdes on Broadway Avenue.
"I feel mentally and physically more calm on this day," said Lidio Lantigua, 54, in Spanish, as he walked down Central Avenue in the procession. "Since I was a little kid I've done the march here."
Many of the believers who marched in the procession said they gained a sense of peace by commemorating the hardship Jesus endured on his way to the cross.
And Marjorie Rodriguez, 20, who strolled with her baby nephew and 3-year-old daughter, said the few hours on her feet were only a gesture to the suffering she imagined her God had suffered.
"What we're walking is nothing compared to what he did," said Rodriguez in Spanish, adding that she had partaken in such processions in Nicaragua before she moved to Bushwick two years ago. "I feel peace in my heart."
Leonlis Becosme, 53, who remembered her first Stations of the Cross in Bushwick 20 years ago, said the crowd has grown larger each year. A few years ago, she added, the joining of St. Martin of Tours and Our Lady of Lourdes further expanded the procession's presence in the neighborhood.
"More people see us on the street each year and come join," she said in Spanish as she walked. "We want people to know."