Pilsen's Via Crucis Procession Draws Hundreds

April 10, 2009

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Chicago's Pilsen community is marking Good Friday today with its big, annual procession.

For more than 30 years, eight Catholic parishes in Pilsen have organized a reenactment of Christ's suffering and death. Hundreds marched through the heart of this Mexican neighborhood today. There were Roman soldiers and weeping women—as well as a Jesus who carried a wooden cross down the middle of 18th Street.

Diana Jaramillo of Westchester says she started coming to the annual procession as a kid.

JARAMILLO: We used to live in Pilsen and we moved out to the suburbs and we come every year to witness this event.

Jaramillo is passing the tradition on to her seven-year-old daughter.

JARAMILLO: Every year she says she wants to come. So we make sure we come out here for her.

Participants are asked to meditate on modern-day suffering in the world. This year's theme was immigration. The event isn't all religion: vendors hawk cotton candy and cut fruit even as readings describing the crucifixion are piped over megaphones, and Jesus is nailed to a cross on a little hill in Harrison Park.

Linda Lutton. WBEZ.