“Camina!” “Rápido!” “Ándale!”
Hispanic men playing Roman soldiers yelled out as they whipped a man dressed in white lugging a cross down 11th Avenue Friday evening.
Volunteers from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church donned first century garb and took on different biblical roles as they reenacted the Passion of Jesus Christ for the church's annual live-action Stations of the Cross.
One of the directors of the event, Elizabeth Hernandez, said she wasn’t sure how long the church has been doing the reenactment on Good Friday, but she’s been involved since she was about 10 years old. She and her mom, Liz Hernandez, have been running it for a while.
“It’s been many years,” Elizabeth said. “I don’t know who knows the exact number.”
Last year, the church group had to cancel its in-person walk due to COVID-19 and did an online version instead. Liz said they weren’t entirely sure if they would even do one this year, but they managed to put it together two to three weeks before Good Friday.
“This year, (it was) a little smaller because of COVID,” she said. “We didn’t have enough time to practice and because we just got together two or three weeks ago.”
Liz said that was why they only did it in Spanish this year, rather than having a translator to repeat the accompanying narration in English as they normally do. Still, despite the last minute preparations, Liz said they were going to perform it with all their heart, which is all that really matters.
“We do it with all our hearts because we like to remember,” she said. “We want to remember how he suffered for us, how he died for us.”
Parishioner Ephraim Rodriguez, who played Simon of Cyrene, the man who was forced to help Jesus carry the cross, said he’s been a part of the live reenactment for the past three years and feels it is important to have an understanding of what Jesus went through for them.
“Our church and our father (priest) has shown us how much it means to us, and how much we want to represent it,” he said through Elizabeth’s translation. “It’s important to the new generations as well to show them and the new generations of Catholics to come.”
Joel Padilla, the man who played Jesus, said it was his second time in the role, and he felt honored to play it.
“It’s the experience of what Jesus suffered (for) us. It’s kind of like, now I know how everything goes in his person,” he said. “This is kind of like nothing compared to (his) suffering.”
Rodriguez said the goal of doing this event every year is to just share a little bit of their faith with the community.
“We are very proud to be Catholics and teach other people what we do.”