By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE — Since 2014, young people from the Archdiocese of Mobile have evangelized in downtown Mobile on Good Friday and this year will be no different.
Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Mobile Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, the Living Stations of the Cross in downtown Mobile has become an annual rite for many. This year St. Dominic Youth Group students will portray the stations beginning at 10 a.m. on Good Friday, April 19 at Spanish Plaza. All are invited.
The portrayal includes stops at Bienville Square and Cathedral Square, before finishing at Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It lasts about one hour and is designed to be a family-friendly faith event.
“It’s extremely powerful,” said Joanne Upton, St. Dominic youth minister.
“(The young people) see they are actually witnessing their faith to other people and it means a great deal to them.”
According to Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Director Adam Ganucheau, young people want to display their faith. Events like the Living Stations of the Cross are a way to do that.
“Young people are eager to share their faith, young people are eager to evangelize, but often times they need structure with which to do that,” Ganucheau said. “This gives them the opportunity to evangelize.”
Thanks to their public display of faith, young people have affected others with their evangelization.
“You never know who you will impact. It really is like (the Parable of the Sower) – just throwing seed and hoping and praying some of it will bear fruit,” Ganucheau said.
“We have police officers, we have people who work downtown, we have bystanders driving down Government (Street).”
Upton added that the Living Stations event will have a good crowd when it begins at Spanish Plaza. But in the past years, the crowd inevitably grew by the time Jesus is crucified on the steps of the Cathedral.
She estimated between 300 to 400 people attended last year’s walk.
“People will just join in as we walk and that’s so empowering,” Upton said. “They see what’s going on, may not even realize it’s a Catholic ritual and they join in because they know what the day is and what the significance of it is.”
Upton said about 15 St. Dominic Youth Group members will take part in the actual portrayal. Jesus will be played by home-schooled senior Brendan Breland.
“By taking the roll of Jesus I hope to gain a better understanding and appreciation for His sacrifice,” Brendan said.
Upton added: “I’ve watched my young people, especially the one who portrays Jesus, struggle to walk that far with the cross. Yet they do it with such humility and they get so much out of it. It brings it to me too. It makes my heart feel for Jesus and what He did for us.”