Thousands of people marched through Calgary’s downtown streets Friday morning, marking the 35th annual Way of the Cross.
Bishop William McGrattan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary led the three-hour musical processional through the 14 stations of the cross.
He said those in attendance stand in solidarity with people suffering around the world.
He included prayers for murdered and missing Indigenous women, just days after Pope Francis’ refusal to apologize to Canada’s Indigenous communities for the Catholic Church’s part in residential schools.
“I hope that by recognizing them on this walk we want to sort of work towards that reconciliation and we want to recognize that there is this cross that they continue to bear and we need to understand it and walk with them,” McGrattan said.
While many Canadians may simply see Good Friday as a holiday, for Christians – it’s much more.
“I’ve been attending this for 16 years now since I was born and today was the first time I had the opportunity to carry the cross,” Catholic Brian Nombre said. “This gave me the opportunity to feel like a new person, refreshed from my sins.”
McGrattan said he hopes the idea that Jesus suffered, died then rose again, will help deliver a universal message of hope.
“There is hope despite our human experiences and we want, as Christians and Catholics, to have that message of hope brought to the world,” he said.