A Walk for Justice

A Reflection by Friar Don Bassana, OFM Conv.

Archbishop Kurtz talks with Friar Don (left) and Fr. Paul Schloemer, OFM Conv. (right).

On Good Friday March 29, 2013, I was invited to participate in “The Way of the Cross: A Walk for Justice” and I am thankful the Holy Spirit moved me to experience that event.  When I first heard about it I assumed it was the Stations I grew up knowing as a cradle Catholic, I could not have been more mistaken. When we arrived in downtown Louisville there were no crosses or stations in sight, and I was immediately perplexed. When the MC began, it struck me like a blow to my conscience this was a Via Dolorosa for our time and we were about to encounter the cross all Christians are called today not just to bear but also to alter or eliminate.

The ecumenical nature of this event was a beautiful witness to Christians united in our common belief in the Cross and in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  Some of the organizations, sponsors, and participants were: Episcopal Churches of Louisville, Highland Baptist Church, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, St. Agnes Catholic Church. The event was started some seventeen years ago by members of St. William Catholic Church in Louisville.

The Walk for Justice participants make their way down the street in front of the courthouse.

Of course, the First station is Jesus condemned to death, and it occurred outside the courthouse where judgments are made and sentences passed. We were called to consider the judging and condemning we do on an everyday basis to our brothers and sisters.  As we progressed each station stopped in front of some building or area that exemplified the attribute the station was calling us to reflect upon. We reflected on themes of Peacemakers, Immigration, God’s abundance, Healing, and Compassion, among others. Each stop placed in front of us one possibility for humanity to make a change for our fellow brothers and sisters, and pricked our conscience with unspoken questions like “where is my compassion,” “what am I called to do,” “what will you do.”

Now after experiencing such an event is the inevitable question – how will it impact my life?  How can we accompany those who suffer and not succumb to despair? How can we stand in solidarity with the persecuted and innocent, and not be resigned to apathy? How will we walk our Via Dolorosa illumined by the light of the Holy Spirit so as to give hope to others along the way?