Aurora Way of the Cross a Sign of Faith
By Margarita Mendoza, Editor El Observador
April 11, 2024
AURORA—The streets of Aurora once again welcomed thousands of people, young and old, for the annual live Stations of the Cross procession on Good Friday, this year on a sunny spring March 29 morning. 
This year’s Stations drew the largest crowd yet, with an official number of “5,000 people” confirmed by Msgr. Arquímedes Vallejo, vicar for Hispanic Ministry. In that crowd were more than 140 young people from St. Nicholas Parish’s youth group. 
Each year, the Aurora parishes put together the Stations. Each one is responsible for a station, including the practical elements of the setting and costumes as well as hospitality.  From beginning to the end, they do this prayerfully.  
Each priest of the parish in charge of the station as well as a lay person from that parish read the faith-filled narration and prayer. The Way of the Cross traditionally begins outside Sacred Heart Parish and ends at St. Nicholas Parish.  
Sister Ventura Chávez, OpSF  (Workers of the Holy Family), coordinates the event. She noted the impact of those who had participated in the Stations, including parish representatives and those from the Rockford Diocese’s Hispanic Ministry. The Way of the Cross helps to “convene, unite and evangelize,” she said. 
At the end of the Stations, Bishop David Malloy thanked the organizers, the participants, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, and the police who had kept the streets safe for the procession. 
He also asked for prayers for the victims of stabbing attacks in the city of Rockford.
He spoke of the “violence that we have had in recent days” and mentioned that four people had died and that others were in critical condition. “It is always a wound to the heart of the city, of society,” he said, and called on those gathered to help “heal such wounds” with their prayers, their love for God and their love for the image of God in each person.  
He then blessed the crowd and took time to greet and bless many of the faithful, who approached him with excitement and enthusiasm. 
Leo Barrera, who helped at the seventh Station, was pleased to have the opportunity to talk to Bishop Malloy, saying it was a “very beautiful experience” because “he focuses on us, on living with us.”
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