Good Friday Way of the Cross in downtown Prince Albert returns after more than three years

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Christine Taylor leads the Way of the Cross away from City Hall on Good Friday.

Christians from across Prince Albert gathered at City Hall on Friday for the Stations of the Cross, a 14-step devotion that commemorates the life of Jesus in the days leading up to his crucifixion.

Friday’s gathering was the Station of the Cross held in Prince Albert in more than three years.

Good Friday was honoured in Prince Albert with a Good Friday Outdoor Way of the Cross beginning at City Hall. The event followed the journey of Jesus Christ on his last day.

“It’s exciting to have it back because it is a time to reflect on how Christ is being crucified in the world,” said Christine Taylor, the Director of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert and one of the event organizers. “It is He who invited people on the periphery. Pope Francis has said that we are called to be people of mercy and compassion, and it is often to those people on the periphery where we still see Christ being crucified in the world today.”

Taylor said Way of the Cross has not been held since 2018 because of poor conditions.

“Sometimes we cancel it because of the weather, but it’s the ice that’s the big deal,” Taylor explained. “We don’t want anyone to trip or fall.”

Although Friday’s gathering was organized by the Catholic community, Taylor stressed that it was an ecumenical event. She said they had representatives from the Lutheran and Covenant churches taking part, and invited everyone to attend.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Bishop Stephen Hero speaks at the first station of the Way of the Cross at Prince Albert City Hall on Good Friday.

The 14 devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of His last day, beginning with His condemnation. The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual moves from station to station.

At each station, the group recalled and meditated on a specific event from Christ’s last day. Specific prayers are recited, then the individual moves to the next station until all 14 are complete.

She said it is a time of reflections on where Christ is being crucified.

“We still see him in the faces of the people, the poor and the most abandoned,” Taylor explained. “(It’s) for us to reflect on our own response to that and an invitation for us to consider how we can act and respond.”

The Stations of the Cross began at the steps of City Hall with a reading from Bishop Stephen Hero of the Diocese of Prince Albert. The walk then made its way up Central Avenue to the Salvation Army.

The next stop was at the SLGA downtown Liquor Store before heading to the Prince Albert Food Bank. The next stop was outside a church building before it made its way to the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre. The next stop was the Multicultural Centre followed by the Medical Arts Building.

The walk then made its way to outside the Gateway Mall before going to the Margo Fournier Centre. The next stop was the Provincial Court and then the next station was the University of Saskatchewan.

The final station saw the walk return to the Cenotaph at City Hall where the prayer was to become instruments of peace in the world.

“It’s a walk through downtown at meaningful places,” Taylor said. “At the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen and at the Friendship Centre where we are going to pray about Truth and Reconciliation. In front of the Multicultural Centre, we are going to pray about refugees and the crisis in Ukraine right now. In front of the Courthouse, we are going to pray for people in prison, and those kind of things.”

Taylor said having the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday was special and the event has become an ecumenical tradition.

She was also grateful other churches could be involved.

“Sometimes we have some of the people from the streets join us because people like pilgrimage and tradition, so the people join us,” Taylor said.

“I’m just glad that the weather is good, cold but not snowing and there is no ice on the streets. I am looking forward to this opportunity to pray for all of us,” she added.