This Holy Week is unlike any in living memory. We usually would gather in our parish churches up to five times from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, make a confession and receive Holy Communion, this year finds most of us at home marking the sacred time with private and family prayer.
An additional way of praying is to attend services online. At 12 noon on Friday (central standard time), recognizing that Christians are not able to gather in their churches because of the stay-at-home order, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago and chancellor of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, and a diverse group of religious, civic and community leaders and representatives will lead special online Christian service to mark the end of the Lenten season, and to gather Christians in prayer.
“The cross weighed heavily on Jesus as he walked the Via Dolorosa (the way of sorrows),” said Cardinal Cupich. “Many crosses weigh heavily on us these days. As we respond to the threat to the health and safety of our neighbors by social distancing, we also find ourselves carrying each other’s crosses and joining together in common prayer. In this way, we can witness to our Lord’s presence in our world, console one another, and intercede for those who serve the common good, care for the sick, keep us fed and safe, teach our children and bury our dead.”
The ecumenical service was developed for Pope Saint John Paul II who first used it Good Friday 1991 in Rome. It is an alternative to the traditional stations and a way of reflecting more deeply on the biblical accounts of Christ’s passion.
Joining Cardinal Cupich in the Ecumenical Stations of the Cross will be Mayor Lori Lightfoot, religious leaders from the Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Theological Seminary, the Episcopal Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., and the United Methodist Church; and civic/community representatives including teachers, police, firefighters, letter carriers, restauranteurs, and the medical community.
April 10 is Good Friday on the calendars of the Western and Armenian churches and Friday of the last week of Lent on the Greek Orthodox calendar.
Everyone is welcome to join the Ecumenical Stations of the Cross at noon, central standard time, on Friday, April 10, 2020, at archchicago.org/coronavirus/prayer-resources.
“The churches in Northeastern Illinois have a long history of joint action in response to community need,” said Fr. Thomas A. Baima, provost of USML and the Cardinal’s vicar for ecumenical and interreligious affairs. “These are difficult times for our people. By coming together in unity to walk the Way of Christ’s Cross, our hope is that we will inspire all those we serve with the message that we are walking with them as they carry their crosses. I am confident that this small gesture of religious and civic leadership will bring some comfort and hope to Northeastern Illinois.”
Additionally, the Archdiocese of Chicago will broadcast the Liturgies of Holy Week and Easter through its Radio/Television office. https://radiotv.archchicago.org/television/broadcast-masses