Thousands Flock Downtown for Passion of Christ
All Photos by Jonathan Guajardo - Editor, SA Sentinel
April 19, 2019 - Milam Park to San Fernando Cathedral (Downtown SA)
Article By: Jonathan Guajardo - Editor, SA Sentinel
Despite all the turmoil raging within the walls of City Hall and our nation, one unifying voice reverberated throughout the heart of downtown San Antonio Saturday uniting the thousands of Christians gathered in San Fernando Plaza. “Father! Into your hands, I commend my Spirit,” declared the voice of Jesus Christ (played by Charles Ramirez) as he inhaled his last breath on Earth and was received into heaven by the Holy Father. Visibly moved, many dropped to their knees and wept while San Fernando Cathedral’s bells rang out a mournful toll.
To Christians, Good Friday is more than just the day when The Savior was crucified. The somberness of the occasion is marked by a joyful hope of redemption and a promise that all of humanity is saved through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. A San Antonio Lenten tradition, this year’s performance wound its way from Milam Park by the Market Square to the front of San Fernando Cathedral where the mock crucifixion would take place. A sizable crowd gathered in person in Main Plaza while others tuned into CTSA (Catholic Television - San Antonio) to watch the live broadcast of the Passion play unfolding in the center of a city where Catholicism runs way deeper than the San Antonio River.
Families gathered around the actors as they marched from Milam Park towards San Fernando Cathedral led by the military-like sounds of Central Catholic High School’s marching band who acted as the Roman legion’s drum corps. Whipped and beaten at every turn, imitation blood and actual sweat dripped from the actor’s back, portraying on a minor scale the agony that Jesus had to endure on the day of his Passion. This drama felt all too real for some in attendance, with first time attendee, Britney, describing how the realism of the reenactment brought tears to her eyes as well as those who came downtown to witness with her.
Another man in attendance, Gilbert, brought his two sons with him to watch the performance and was deeply moved by what he saw. "I have two boys and I wanted them to experience the different stations from beginning to end,” he elaborated. “The portrayal, the scenes, the acting…they were all very very realistic.”
“I love to do the stations of the cross, especially on Friday,” described Margarita Macias, who beheld the Passion Play with her family visiting from Chicago. “It reconnects us with Jesus. It’s very somber, it’s very sad…but in three days, he’ll be up again with the Resurrection.”