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Volunteers prepare for Way of the Cross procession in Chicago's Pilsen community

Volunteers prepare for Good Friday Via Crucis in Chicago's Pilsen community
Volunteers prepare for Good Friday Via Crucis in Chicago's Pilsen community 02:12

CHICAGO (CBS) -- This was Holy Thursday for Christians, before the Easter weekend, and a day later, a somber event in Pilsen will mark Good Friday in Pilsen.

The tradition draws thousands to the neighborhood – delivering music, costumes, and props. But most importantly, the event draws hope.

For the 47th year Friday, the Pilsen Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, will take over the streets in the neighborhood. 

It will start with a reenactment of the Last Supper in the basement of the Providence of God Church, 717 W. 18th St., and will proceed to Harrison Park along 18th Street between Damen and Wood streets for a reenactment of the Crucifixion.

The event will end with prayer at St. Pius V Church, 1919 S. Ashland Ave.

"You can look here on the walls, and you see the 14 Stations of the Cross," said the Rev. Don Nevins, pastor of St. Procopius Catholic Church at 1641 S. Allport St., "and what it is is a recreation of those, but doing it live."

Father Nevins said this Good Friday procession has only grown over the years.

"I think there's a connection between an immigrant community that's had to suffer a lot - coming across the border, looking for jobs, not having documents and things like that," he said, "I think it associated with that suffering of Jesus."

The number of people working to make the event happen has been growing, too.

Volunteers have dedicated countless hours of their time, and it goes beyond religion for many participating.

"I'm not Catholic," said volunteer Edwin Molina. "I don't follow any religions."

But Molina is still participating in the procession for the first time this year.

"This is all about friendship," he said. "This is all about community."

For coordinator Nellie Quintana and the over 100 volunteers, it is also about reaching out to those in need.

"Giving hope to these mothers that have had losses of their children due to violence, or young adults becoming involved in gang violence," said Quintana. "It really touches people's hearts. As you're walking down, processing on 18th Street - the silence that you hear, the prayers of everybody praying as one - I think it's very powerful."

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