Local parishioners take part in Good Friday festivities

Bishop Daniel Flores plays the role of Jesus during the Stations of The Cross at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle on Friday, April,18, 2019 in San Juan. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor dlopez@themonitor.com

SAN JUAN — Hundreds marched through the 14 stations that illustrate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Friday.

Leading the crowd of parishioners through the statues set up at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle was the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Daniel Flores. He carried a large cross on his shoulder throughout the hourlong procession, which is usually a role played by younger parishioners.

It’s a longstanding tradition for those of the Catholic faith, and for those in the Rio Grande Valley, with the San Juan Basilica one of the most popular places to participate in Good Friday festivities.

Cristela Alonzo, a comedian and actress from San Juan, posted on social media Friday that she remembers going through the stations at the San Juan Basilica with her mother on Good Friday.

“My mom and I used to walk it and then when Jesus died, she would have us do the walk in reverse to bring him back to life,” she wrote.

Bernie Domingo, a retired teacher and Edinburg resident, has been coming to the Stations of the Cross procession since she moved from the Philippines. She was accompanied by her friend, Sen Domingo, a Pharr teacher who also came to the United States from Philippines. Both said their faith is something that ties them back home.

“It’s similar but in the Philippines it’s really intense,” she said. “We still feel the same, we’re really devoted Catholics. … It all came from God, we are nothing without him.”

Though most who attended were local residents, some were visiting the area. Araceli Aguilar, from Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, attended while visiting her niece here. She was afraid she’d miss the usual Easter weekend celebrations until she heard about the San Juan Basilica’s Stations of the Cross ceremony.

“(In Mexico) we do the same thing but with more re-enactment,” she said in Spanish. “They’re really pretty; they have it just like it happened.”

Photo Gallery: Stations of the Cross