BRADENTON -- About 20 followers of Pax Christi Manasota walked the "Way of the Cross" through downtown on Good Friday, carrying a life-sized wooden cross, singing and stopping to pray in Spanish and English for those involved in specific ministries.
Points on their path included both religious and secular locations, ranging from Stillpoint House of Prayer and the Bill Galvano One Stop Center to the Manatee County Central Library and the Manatee County Judicial Center.
At each of the stops, members of the group told the story of Jesus' walk to his death and how local efforts carry out the work he began. They also specifically cited the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Project Light, Central Christian Church and Family Promise, the city of Bradenton, the Bradenton Police Department, the law offices of Adam Tebrugge and the Manatee County Courthouse.
Chuck and Carol Delaney of Ellenton, parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bradenton, were on the walk for the first time.
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"This is something that I feel can do a lot of good. We have a little homeless ministry we do just ourselves," said Carol Delaney, who chose to join the walk "in order to perhaps feel some of the feelings that Christ must have felt during his passion and way of the cross."
Nancy Haines, a member of Mary Mother of Jesus Church in Sarasota, drove from Osprey to join this particular group. "If more people were doing the crucifixion, the contemporary one, maybe the world would change," she said.
Leading the group on its Good Friday walk, Dorothy Sadowski of Manasota Pax Christi has been participating in the walk since its beginning nearly 10 years ago. The winter resident from Cleveland said the annual ritual is a modeling "that we're taking some time out on Good Friday to remember the way of the cross and how its still happening in our society today.
"As people see us, cars honk. People thank us. They yell, 'Thank you!' out the window so I think it's having some effect on the community. It's deeply moving to me."
The emphasis on different services in town is part of what Lee Breyer of Ellenton appreciates about the event.
"It's a good statement from the religious point to do the stations of the cross," he said. "People who see us along 14th Street know this is the margin of society. They figure out I'm not really one of them by my appearance, yet I hope they would feel I'm interested in their causes."
Breyer and his wife, Carol Ann, participate in Pax Christi through theirparish, St. Joseph Catholic Church. They suggest those interested in the organization contact Michael John, the church's director of religious education, at 941-756-3732.