“It’s the connection with what we left behind”: A Latino Stations of the Cross marches through the streets of Nashua
Many places in Latin America are known for their processions on Good Friday. In New Hampshire, the tradition brings people close to their parish and their roots.
Each year, St Aloysius of Gonzaga Catholic Church in Nashua is home to a procession of the stations of the cross. People walk through the city’s Tree Streets, a predominantly immigrant neighborhood, and many parishioners dress in robes to recreate the march of Jesus to the crucifixion.
The march starts at the church on West Hollis Street where the volunteers recreate the scene of Jesus being condemned to death. Prayers are said in Spanish and English.
Reverend Marcos Gonzales-Torres said this is a display for the whole community to learn more about the Latino faith and culture.
“It’s the connection to the motherland,” he said. He remembers himself as a little kid walking around the streets in Mexico with his mom crying for Jesus.
Among the worshipers is José Adrián Amador, from Mexico, who has lived in Nashua for 11 years. He played the part of a Roman soldier who yells at Jesus to stand up and go faster. He said it’s important people know this is not a show, but it’s about remembering Jesus Christ's sacrifice.
“It is all about faith,” Amador said.
His 15-year-old son, Juan, played the part of a soldier for the first time. He said he felt anxious before the procession, but when it started the nerves disappeared. His dad told him they should be praying for peace in the world.
As the procession continued, the tension rose every time Jesus fell. Painted in red all over his clothes, Martin Lorza, who’s originally from Colombia and has lived in New Hampshire for 20 years, said he feels at peace with himself when he dresses like Jesus “because we’ve all been sinners and we need to ask humbly for his help.”
Amparo Sierra, who’s also from Colombia, has lived in Nashua for 32 years. She is a catechism teacher who played the part of Veronica, the woman who wiped Jesus’ face. “This makes me feel special,” she said, “I tell my students this procession is a way of connecting with their roots and their faith.”
Parishioners said that this celebration in Nashua is not only a message about the pain Jesus Christ suffered but also of love and hope to those that are looking for it in this Holy Week.