Every year, St. Anthony Padua Church leads an outdoor Stations of the Cross through Brampton, Ont. Photo courtesy of St. Anthony of Padua Parish

Brampton's St. Anthony’s youth help lead outdoor Stations of the Cross

By  Teresa Quadros, Youth Speak News
  • April 14, 2017

Without the suffering and bloodshed of the Passion of Christ, we could not receive His mercy and forgiveness. For the last 27 years, St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Brampton, Ont., has put on a outdoor Stations of the Cross throughout the city.

“We will stop at 12 locations to reflect on how Jesus unites Himself with the suffering and burdens of the downtrodden,” said Grand Knight Phil Battista. “From across the steps of the city hall, we will commence on a journey of suffering, disappointment, failure and loss through the downtown area of our city.”

Each location selected for the station focuses on a specific theme of distress in society.

For example, when Jesus falls the third time on the ninth station, attention is called to loneliness and abandonment, brought to life by standing inside the bus terminal, where people enter the city alone and lost.

During the 10th station, the issue of homelessness and poverty is prayed for in remembrance of Jesus stripped of His clothes and dignity. The crucifixion takes place in the core of the city because just as all local roads lead to downtown Brampton, all roads lead to the Cross.

The youth especially are called to be moved by the Holy Spirit and ease the pain of someone else’s suffering, as St. Veronica did in offering Jesus her veil to wipe His brow. Or allow themselves to be used, as Simon of Cyrene was, as an instrument in God’s plan.

“Even though age is irrelevant and everyone, young and old, are called to devotion, youth in general are being left behind in their faith,” said Keith Hermack, youth leader at St. Anthony of Padua. “As the world around them becomes increasingly more secularized, here they are reminded of their salvation in the risen Lord.”

Each participant is called to use the themes of the Stations of the Cross as motivation to begin a renewed life in Christ.

At each station, members of the youth group read the reflection, connecting the pain endured by Christ to that of the community.

Belnisa Mouajou, a Grade 12 student, has been a youth reader for four years.

“I can feel the pain He went through,” she said. “And by reflecting, I use that sorrow to pray for those individuals in need.”

For Mouajou, the themes of the Stations of the Cross don’t end with Good Friday. The triumph of Jesus over death is found in the transformed lives of the faithful. Just the same as the stations of the cross unites the suffering of people to Jesus’ suffering, so Easter celebrates the victory of peace and joy within the suffering of society.

(Quadros, 17, is a Grade 11 student at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ont.)

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