Good Friday in Aurora a Faith Experience
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
April 25, 2019
AURORA—The procession  begins outside Sacred Heart Parish at “nine o’clock” in the morning, Msgr. Arquimedes Vallejo, emphasized.
 
Msgr. Vallejo is Vicar for Hispanic Ministry in the Rockford Diocese and pastor of Sacred Heart in Aurora.
 
The Living Stations procession that began at Sacred Heart traveled through the streets of the city and ended at St. Nicholas Parish.
 
Readings along the way alternated in Spanish and in English. At each station a prayer focused on different needs such as for the weak, the suffering and the needy, in addition to asking the Virgin Mary for “the grace of faith, hope and charity,” and asking God for “mercy and forgiveness,” for “compassion and justice.”
 
When the procession reached St. Nicholas, Bishop David Malloy thanked participants and organizers of the stations. 
 
To the Aurora Police Department, he added, “As we thank them, I would ask that we have a special moment of thanks to the police who were so valiant on that tragic day of Friday, Feb. 15 at the Henry Pratt Company.  
 
“We know that five workers died.  But our police responded with courage to save others.  Today, the officers wounded in that moment are here with us.  As a means of offering our prayers, of uniting our beloved City of Aurora, and of thanking them for such a sacrifice, I ask that we recite together for them an Our Father.”
 
The bishop also highlighted the heroism of the police and first responders, and thanked the city of Aurora for allowing the celebration of the stations.
 
‘Your faith has saved you ‘ 
 
John Cebulski, one of the policeman received the bishop’s blessing while still using crutches from the shooting.  
 
“I’m blessed to be here, and I think that we had a guardian angel with us the whole time. That’s why we are here today,”  he said.  
 
“I had a strong faith before (Feb. 15 and) I still have strong faith.”  
 
Cebulski is a parent of children attending Aurora Central Catholic High School and Holy Angels School in Aurora, where he is also known as a friend, a school liaison officer and boys basketball coach
 
For Officer Marco Gómez, who was injured in his hip during the shooting, it was “very important” to be at the Good Friday stations. 
 
He offered “thanks to God because He protected us, because there were no more wounded, that we did not lose any officers, and that we could prevent other people from being hurt.” 
 
He has always had faith, but  “now I confirm that I have someone who is taking care of me. In Iraq I was injured but it was not so serious.” 
 
Reynaldo Rivera, the third officer attending, said he was “glad to be here, (to) be blessed by the bishop. ... It means a lot because I think God is the one who got us through all this.” 
 
His life has generally returned to normal, but said his “faith is maybe a little deeper. I’m more appreciative of what I have — family, friends that take care of me — that (the faith) has definitely changed a little deeper.”
 
Bishop Malloy also told the crowd the Living Stations of the Cross were only a part of the celebration of Good Friday. He urged participants to go to their parishes that day to participate in Good Friday services and prayers there also.