Jesus trudged bloodied and bearing a cross through the streets of Long Beach on Good Friday. That means St. Mary of the Isle Church held their annual Stations of the Cross service.
The service commences at the church, with Jesus condemned to death representing the first of 15 stations. Congregant David Echeverria, 37, played Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns and carrying a cross from the church onto East Park Avenue and Monroe Boulevard. The congregation followed Echeverria through East Olive Street, Riverside Boulevard and back to the church.
Along the way, Jesus is whipped and falls three times, reenacting the third, and seventh and ninth stations. Back at the church, Echeverria, who moved to Long Beach from Guatemala 15 years ago and has played Jesus in eight prior services, went through the final stations, including Jesus’ death on the cross.
In church traditions Easter celebrations begin with three holy days, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, prior to Easter Sunday. Special masses and celebrations commence through the four days, and each church highlights something in particular for their parish. This seven-week season of the church commences with Lent, a 40 day preparatory time for Easter when the faithful repentant and fast for their sins.
* Tennille-Lynn Milo contributed to this story.