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Cristo Rey San Diego High School Stations of the Cross
Brenda Morris

Friends of Cristo Rey,

I remember as a child, mom asked that we be quiet on Good Friday between noon and 3 PM and try to remember Jesus’ dying on the cross for us. That meant no television, radio, or going outside to play with friends. At 3 PM, we would go to St. Ann’s Church for the Stations of the Cross. To this day, I find the Stations of the Cross a great way of praying and accompany Jesus on his Way of the Cross. With prayerful imagination, I enter the passion and death of Jesus and realize how much Jesus loves me and all of us, giving his life for our salvation.

In recent years, I have prayerfully walked alongside Mary during the Stations of the Cross. As his mother, Mary was devastated, confused, and exhausted. In many ways, Mary was also crucified with her son, her love totally poured out and her spirit totally spent. When everyone else ran away in fear, Mary remained and embraced Jesus’ cross. I pray through Mary’s intercession that I have the same courage and fidelity to remain with Jesus.

Good Friday happened and it is important for us to embrace Jesus and the cross. Good Friday continues to happen in the crucified persons and communities of our world today. The images from the Ukraine, Gaza, Haiti, and the millions of refugees throughout the world today remind us of the passion, suffering, and death of so many. With Mary, may we faithfully remain at the cross, and pray that we be moved with compassion and extend our arms to embrace those in need.

I cannot imagine what Mary felt on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Her grief, sadness, fatigue, and confusion had to be tremendous. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has Jesus’ first appearance after his resurrection be with Mary, his mother. Ignatius believed that the encounter was so intimate that no one was there to see and record it. I am moved when I prayerfully imagine this encounter ― Jesus approaching his mother saying “mom, it’s me, I am alive, everything is okay, thanks mom for saying yes to bringing me into the world. Your mission is complete. You have done God’s will. Thank you.” The tears and joy must have been immense. Jesus and Mary together on Easter morning. In the end, life triumphs, and the joy of Jesus alive sends Mary and all of us out to announce this, we go and glorify the Lord with our life.

During Holy Week we celebrate the centrality of our faith, the paschal mystery, the passion, death, and resurrection of our companion Jesus. The miracle of Cristo Rey is the faith of all of you and your desire to walk the way of the cross. With Mary, you have said yes to bringing Christ into the world and yes to doing God’s will. We continue to die to self as we put our faith and love into action. We continue to see those in need, and moved with compassion, we extend our hands and help. Thousands of young people and their families throughout our country have new life because of your compassion and generosity. Thank all of you for your faith and putting your love into action throughout the Cristo Rey Network. Good Friday is real, so is Easter Sunday clearly alive in all of you. Thank all of you for your faith and love and reminding all of us that indeed love and life triumph.

Happy Easter.

Jim Gartland, S.J.
Chief Mission Officer
Cristo Rey Network

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