Photo Credit: Janet Kawamoto / Diocese of Los Angeles
[ACNS] Anglicans from Mexico and the United States will gather for a cross-border Eucharist service on the day before Palm Sunday. On their way to Friendship Park, which straddles Tijuana in Mexico and San Diego in the US, the congregations will pray the stations of the cross with the last station at the border. The event is organised to draw attention to the plight of immigrants.
The Via Crucis 2016 (Way of the Cross) will be led by Bishop Lino Rodriguez of Western Mexico in la Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico (the Anglican Church of Mexico) and Bishops James Mathes of San Diego and Diane Bruce of Los Angeles in the Episcopal Church of America.
The event, which was first held in 2012, is being held to “draw attention to the plight of immigrants in the Via Crucis,” the Anglican Church of Mexico said on its website. “The pilgrims will stop on the way to the border to pray the Stations of the Cross, which ends at the border with the last station. There also will remember that Jesus Christ was received as an unwelcome immigrant.
“The impetus for the service came five years ago by the desire to address border issues and immigration between the dioceses.”
A six-foot high statue of Jesus Christ will accompany the pilgrimage from the heart of Los Angeles to the border, travelling at the front of a motorcade.
The event “seeks to explore the implications of living near a border, and being called to embody fearless love, peace and social justice,” the organisers say. “It will witness the plight of those affected by migration with the celebration of the Eucharist at the border, remembering that Jesus Christ was a migrant.”
“At Easter we celebrate that Jesus crossed the border of death,” the Revd Dr Beth Kelly, rector of St Andrew's Church in Fullerton, California, one of the organisers of the service, said. “In this prayer event that takes place in our national border, we recognize that our border is a huge symbol of the dark side of our expression of immigration.
“I also recognize that Jesus migrated from heaven to earth while searching for a better life for all.
“Come prayerfully stand and meditate on what this means that Jesus meets us at the border,” she said, adding: “Or at the least pause in meditation, recognizing that the entire Easter message is about how God made beautiful the border between heaven and earth.”
The border between the US and Mexico is closed at Friendship Park. Clergy from the two churches will celebrate the Eucharist together on either side of the fence which separates the two congregations.