Thousands marched through the streets of Bensonhurst on April 18 in a procession honoring Good Friday — the remembrance of the day the Romans crucified Jesus Christ.
Organizers say the annual ritual brings Christians together at one of the most important times of the year.
“Good Friday is one of the most sacred and solemn days of the Church’s year. It’s a day when people feel a necessity to be close to God and to be close to the Church, as a way of thanking God for what he has done for us,” said Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chapetto.
Chapetto led the crowd from 66th Street and 16th Avenue to Saint Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church on 20th Avenue near the corner of 75th Street. The solemn marchers carried crosses and statues of Christ and of the Virgin Mary, and grew in number from 1,200 to more than 2,000 along the route.
“I was really impressed with the number of people that attended,” said Chapetto. “It was a beautiful expression of their deep faith in their Lord.”
The procession is more than 20 years old and involves all of the major Catholic congregations in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, including Saint Athanasius, Saint Bernadette, Saint Dominic, Saint Finbar, Saint Frances Cabrini, Saint Mary Mother of Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Regina Pacis and Saints Simon and Jude, as well as the Knights of Columbus. This was Chapetto’s first year leading the procession as bishop, though he participated in the late 90s while territorial vicar for Brooklyn West. Chapetto said that the event’s attendance has swelled, even as the Catholic population of Bensonhurst has shrunk.
“It was like going back to something I was very familiar with,” said Chapetto. “Only it seems to be growing.”