When parishioners at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park launched a neighborhood-based outdoor Stations of Cross on Good Friday last year, the initiative was born of necessity, as the parish church had recently been shuttered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A year later, parishioners on Friday were able to visit the traditional Stations of the Cross inside the reopened church at 9525 S. Lawndale Ave., but the popularity of the outdoor event last year prompted volunteers to repeat the pandemic-era tradition, which was expected to attract more than 1,000 visitors, parishioner Jennifer Busk said.
“Last year, after the pandemic hit, there was nothing going on for our worship community, so we were happy to be able to pull together a neighborhood Stations of the Cross pretty quickly,” Busk said.
“I don’t think any of us anticipated how popular it would be, so we decided that this year, we’d take the opportunity to continue this practice, as we knew it also would assuage the concerns of people who are not vaccinated and still not comfortable being back in church,” Busk said.
The parish has resumed celebrating Mass in the church, albeit by reservation and a limited capacity, she said.
On Friday, 14 homes within the parish boundaries displayed a white cross draped in purple bunting on their front lawns alongside a brief description of the respective station, all of which commemorates the Passion of Christ, Busk said.
Featuring a QR code to allow visitors to follow along the route on their mobile phones, Busk said, parishioners and visitors were invited to walk or drive the route to recognize this important day in the Catholic Church and Holy Triduum.
“The weather is beautiful, and there are families with children of all ages ... pushing strollers and pulling wagons, and older couples walking together,” Busk said, adding: “A church is not four walls and a building, it’s the community and our leaders, and our faith is still alive and well.”