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For centuries, Good Friday has been marked by the Stations of the Cross, which prayerfully follows the path of Jesus Christ from Pontius Pilate’s praetorium to Christ’s tomb.
This year, hundreds of pro-life Catholics will participate in the 17th annual Way of the Cross for Life, to be held simultaneously, 9 a.m. to noon, in the streets of Brookline, Boston, East Boston and Keene, NH.
"The Way of the Cross for Life is a peaceful procession in reparation for the sin of abortion," explained Colbe Mazzarella, the founder and organizer of the procession. "It's a prayerful event, not a protest."
For Mazzarella, organizing the procession is a family affair.
"We pretty much organize everything as a family," she explained. "Every year, my husband Jerry serves as the strategist and helps out with the details, and my children always are there to make sure things run smoothly." Each of her six children attend the Way of the Cross for Life, with one carrying the cross at the front and others holding up the "Way of the Cross for Life" banner.
Mazzarella, a parishioner from St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in East Boston, was first inspired to organize a “Way of the Cross for Life” in 1987, after reading about a similar Walk for Life held in San Jose, California. Having been involved in pro-life demonstrations outside abortion clinics around Brookline, she decided to hold the first procession there.
However, after the John Salvi clinic shooting, Cardinal Bernard Law suggested that Mazzarella that hold the procession in downtown Boston. The procession as been held there ever since.
This year, she expects over 500 Catholics will participate in the Way of the Cross for Life, a number she feels might be bolstered by the Mel Gibson movie, “The Passion of the Christ.”
According to Mazzarella, each of the processions “try to have a route among churches or abortion clinics. [Participants] pray the rosary, sing hymns and carry crosses, statues and banners. Speaking English, Spanish and Italian, they make the Stations of the Cross along the streets of Boston,” she said.
At each station, the traditional St. Alphonsus prayers are proclaimed, she explained. In addition, another prayer — one more centered on the sacredness of life — is also contemplated.
Using the sixth station as an example, in which Veronica wipes Jesus’ face, Mazzarella recited the prayer, “Veronica honored Our Lord when others despised Him. Heavenly Father, we wish to make reparation for the times we have rejected Our Lord when we met Him in the person of an unmarried mother. A sinful act can cause a pregnancy, but pregnancy itself is never a sin. Please help us to honor the dignity of motherhood in every pregnant woman.”
"We are making reparation to God for 50 million abortions world-wide every year, and for all of us who either participate in abortion or remain silent when we should speak out against it. Being 'personally opposed' to abortion is not enough."
Mazzarella called on all Catholics to participate in the act of reparation. “This is a simple, powerful devotion. Take up your cross and follow Jesus down the streets of your own city. Whether you walk around your parish church, in front of abortion clinics, or among seven churches in the old Holy Week tradition, you will be blessed for your courageous public statement.”
For more information about the Way of the Cross for Life, contact Colbe Mazzarella at 617-569-4570 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.