Good Friday: Schoenstatt Movement invites all to ‘Walk with Christ’
By Joshua Chang
Good Friday is the day that we remember the Passion and Death of our Lord, and rightly so, it is one of the most important days of our Catholic calendar. Here in Austin, a tradition started more than five years ago to walk on a 9-mile pilgrimage to experience the spirit of Good Friday. Hundreds of pilgrims have participated in this pilgrimage, which begins in the heart of Austin at St. Mary Cathedral and journeys to the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Schoenstatt in West Austin. After last year’s pilgrim group welcomed more than 400 people, Bishop Joe Vásquez agreed to send-off the pilgrims this year with a special blessing in front of the Cathedral.
From humble beginnings, the first Good Friday Pilgrimage happened when a group of students from the University of Texas wanted to literally ‘walk with Christ’ and be a witness of faith to their beloved Austin. In particular, one group of students from the Schoenstatt University Men took on the initiative and gathered different teams of people to plan out the route and logistics, as well as spiritual activities along the way. Walking on pilgrimage is not new in the church, and it is also an established tradition amongst the Schoenstatt Family of Texas. Every year for the last 20 years, the Schoenstatt boys youth walk on a 50-mile pilgrimage from Corpus Christi to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Rockport. This bold and iconic tradition no doubt sparked the idea within the University group, and they adapted a pilgrimage for the needs of our community. The first Good Friday pilgrimage gathered about 15 students, all eager to encounter their city on this solemn day of remembrance.
Several years later, the pilgrims are more in number and they include children and families from all over Texas, including students from St. Edward’s University, Texas A&M, Texas State, and beyond. The pilgrimage also features an original, heart wrenching skit of the Passion of Christ written and enacted by some of the students along the way. The creativity of dialogue between Mother Mary and Son, and the thoughts running through each of the characters on that day is beautifully portrayed. Pilgrims are also invited to help carry a life-sized cross with Jesus along the entire 9-mile journey.
Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Sister Amata Veritas said the pilgrimage on Good Friday was an opportunity to spiritually and physically enter into the suffering and death of Our Lord.
“Each stop provided an opportunity to meditate on the mysteries of the Stations of the Cross and then walk alongside the cross praying, meditating and conversing with those who were with you on the Way,” she said.
A pilgrimage by definition is a religious expedition, or a journey with a purpose to honor God. The Schoenstatt Movement of Austin invites you to join them on Good Friday, April 14, and walk in solemn remembrance of our Lord’s sacrifice. Pilgrims will gather at the steps of St Mary Cathedral at 12:30 p.m. sharp and receive a blessing from Bishop Joe Vásquez before departing to the Schoenstatt Shrine at 1 p.m.
For more information about the pilgrimage, visit www.schoenstatt.us.