The Way of the Cross Downtown Chicago

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The Way of the Cross Downtown Chicago is an annual public event sponsored by the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation. The Way of the Cross takes place on Good Friday and follows the passion of Christ through the heart of the city. Through choral music, Gospel passages, reflections, and silent procession, the hope is to enter more deeply into the events of Good Friday and their meaning today. It is an entreaty to experience the exceptional presence of Christ as a real answer to the needs of the heart.[1]


The Way of the Cross (Via Crucis or Via Dolorosa) is the act of devotion commemorating Christ’s Passion. For centuries this tradition has accompanied Christians during Lent and particularly on Good Friday.

In 1970, Fr. Luigi Giussani, a teacher and the founder of Communion and Liberation, started proposing this gesture of the Christian faith to his college students, gathering them by the thousands in Caravaggio, a Sanctuary near Milan, Italy. Together with the traditional readings from the Gospel, Giussani introduced short passages from some of the greatest contemporary Catholic writers, like Claudel and Peguy.

The choir accompanied the procession singing at every station to reawaken the awareness of the faithful with the beauty and sorrow which choral music can express. An ancient tradition was brought to new life.

In 1996 a handful of friends belonging to the movement of Communion and Liberation asked for permission to walk the Way of the Cross on the Brooklyn Bridge. Permission was granted by the authorities and the gesture blessed by the then Bishop of Brooklyn, H.E. Thomas V. Daily. Accompanied by Fr. Ronald Marino less than thirty people followed the Cross along the Brooklyn Bridge pathway on a cloudy and rainy day on Good Friday 1996.

Year after year the Way of the Cross over the Brooklyn Bridge started growing. Thirty people became a hundred, two, three, four hundred, a thousand until, on Good Friday 2002, almost three thousand New Yorkers followed the Cross all the way to Ground Zero.[2]

In 2005 another group of friends belonging to Communion and Liberation asked permission and began The Way of the Cross Downtown Chicago. The event has grown each year with attendance reaching 500 in recent years.


Introduction - 9:00 AM

First Stop

Second Stop
(Riverwalk @ State/Wacker)

Third Stop
(Michigan @ the River)

Fourth Stop

Fifth Stop - 11:30 AM