Walking alongside Christ carrying his cross, comforting his crying mother, Mary, repeating the Savior's final words: Good Friday is a physical experience as much as a spiritual one for Hispanic Catholics.
In Houston, churches draw from traditions from South America, Central America and Mexico, where Jesus' death is dramatically recreated by parishioners, both on city streets and in sanctuaries stripped bare for the solemn holiday.
While all Roman Catholics remember the Passion and the Stations of the Cross, the memorial processions in Hispanic communities bring these introspective practices to life. They emphasize his suffering by making it as real as possible and pulling Catholics into the story. The faithful act out 14 scenes from the story of Christ's final hours, while other parishioners follow.
“There's the sense of being there with the one who suffers,” said the Rev. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, newly appointed vicar for the diverse population of Hispanic Catholics in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. “That's what Jesus did for us.”