Parishioners from three Illawarra churches gathered at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wollongong on Good Friday to take part in the Stations of the Cross.
During the outdoor service, the congregation followed Bishop Peter Ingham through the 14 stations, including Jesus’ falls while carrying the cross, meeting his mother and the crucifixion.
Solemn hymns were sung as the group made their way to each station, marked by a large wooden crosses nailed to a wall or fixed to the ground.
‘‘Today we stop and reflect on the suffering on Jesus Christ,’’ Bishop Ingham told the congregation during his homily, in between stations 12 and 13.
‘‘Today is a solemn day in our liturgy, a day of fasting, of not eating meat.’’
He encouraged people to follow to look to the example of the Virgin Mary when helping someone they love through times of hardship and to recognise ‘‘the importance of being there when and where there is suffering.’’
‘‘Never underestimate the value and significance of presence. Presence can speak more eloquently than words,’’ he said.
The service was the first time parishioners from Wollongong, Fairy Meadow, Balgownie and Gwynneville have come together for Good Friday.
The Stations of the Cross was the second of three parts to the Good Friday services, which began on Thursday evening with a commemoration of the last supper and concluded on Friday afternoon with the Commemoration of the Passion.