Mumbai’s Catholic community on Saturday night conducted ‘All Mumbai Walking Pilgrimage for Peace’ – an overnight penitential walk held during the Lent period. Lent is the time of fasting, penance and austerity for Christians.
The walk started at Cross Maidan near Dhobi Talao and was flagged off by Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay. The march was to end at the Basilica of Mount Mary in Bandra with an early morning mass at 5am. This is the 32nd year of the walk which happened after a Covid-induced break of two years.
“It is a penitential walk where we sing hymns and give a glimpse of the station of Cross,” said Francis Fernandes, president of the Marian Seva Foundation that is organising the walk that will pass through through Haji Ali to Our Lady of Salvation Church in Dadar before ending at Bandra.
Devotees marched behind four floats
Devotees walked behind four floats – the first of Mother Mary (pilgrim statue), second of Jesus carrying the Cross, third of Sorrowful Mother (as her son is suffering), and one of St. Joseph, the patron of the pilgrimage, who was known as the Foster Father of Jesus Christ.
Francis said it’s like a marathon walk for city’s devotees, both old and young. “We ask God to rain blessings and grant us peace and unity,” he said.
Stations of the Cross are a series of events in the life of Jesus before he was crucified. They reflect the passion of Christ and are often depicted through tableaus or enactments. During Lent, they are also shown on Fridays in some Churches. A number of people organised them in Christian dominated neighbourhoods in the city.
Devotees spoke about the nature of the walk
Another devotee on foot, Larson Fernandes said, “We are walking for peace for the entire city and all humans. We pray for their good health. The Lent season is marked by prayers and fasting; so as we walk, we are praying continuously.”
Fr. Nigel Barrett, spokesperson of Archdiocese of Bombay, said that every year people undertake this pilgrimage from Cross Maidan to the Basilica of Mount Mary. He said, “It is walking in prayer and expressing our faith in Lent. The idea is to put an extra effort and show acts that help us grow in our faith. This year, the theme is to pray for World Peace. Cross Maidan is a place of devotion and Mount Mary a regular place for pilgrimage.”
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