Jackie, Jeff, and Xavier Lavery were among hundreds of Catholics making their way through downtown streets marking Good Friday and the 6th annual Way of the Cross.
“We thought it would be a good way to show the city that the church is young and alive, and that it is important, and that there are young families who are believing and practicing,” said Jackie Lavery.
The event was commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.
Christians believe Jesus was resurrected on Easter Sunday.
Starting at St. Patrick’s Basilica, the procession, led by Archbishop of Ottawa Most. Rev. Terrence Prendergast, went north up Kent St. then east on Wellington St., ending at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.
It’s a good chance to display one’s faith, said Prendergast.
“There’s a current in our society that says ‘keep your faith to yourself, in your house, in your church, but not outside.’ And we say no,” he said.
“Our faith touches every aspect of our lives and we need to be there in a public place. So we go and we pray before the Supreme Court, we pray before the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, we pray before the National Gallery of art, and so on.”
Stopping on the steps at each location, a choir sang in English, Latin, and French.
Sponsored by Communion and Liberation Ottawa, an estimated 500 people were expected.
The event drew 1,000 Catholics last year.
“I think they associate their sufferings and their struggles, their pains, with the sufferings of Jesus.
That’s really one of the things that makes the devotion to the Way of the Cross such a popular devotion,” Prendergast said.
Similar processions were held by Protestants in the Glebe and Kanata.
Many followers were abstaining from meat, standard during Lent.
Haddock was on the menu for dinner at the Lavery household, while Gigi Garasi, another east-end resident, planned on having smoked salmon.
Garasi was attending with three sisters, an annual Good Friday tradition since moving to Ottawa from the Philippines eight years ago.
“It’s our repentance and (to feel) closer to God Almighty,” said Garasi.
An Easter feast awaits.
“Easter Sunday, it’s like a family gathering,” said Garasi.
Same goes for the Laverys, minus the relatives.
“None of our families (are) in town so we’ll just get together with other young families to celebrate,” Jackie Lavery said.