Bishop Kevin Vann and Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Freyer joined other bishops from throughout the state of California to produce and release a video reenacting the Stations of the Cross, in an effort to draw attention to the sin of racism and ask God’s help in eliminating it.
The video is also intended to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the tragic killings at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and the Juneteenth holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States.
“People in our day suffer unjustly simply because of the color of their skin or their national origins,” says Bishop Robert McElroy, leader of the Diocese of San Diego and president of the California Catholic Conference. “Let us acknowledge the sin of racism and work to combat it in our social structures, our institutions and our hearts.”
The “Stations of the Cross” video is both a reenactment and a reminder of the struggle and humiliation that our Lord Jesus Christ went through on his way to crucifixion and his ultimate resurrection. There are 14 “stations,” each depicting incidents that took place as Jesus carried his own cross to Mt. Calvary, the site of his execution.
The video is led by Archbishop Jose Gomez of the archdiocese of Los Angeles and includes the leaders of all 12 California (arch)dioceses and the three Catholic eparchies.
The liturgy was developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Each station in the video was taped at a location with rich racial meaning. The 10th station of the cross, which was contributed by the Diocese of San Diego, commemorates Jesus being stripped of his garments. It was taped in a San Diego neighborhood that was used to house the local KKK headquarters.
The video runs 40 minutes and will be linked to the home page of every diocese in California. It can also be found at https://tinyurl.com/y77q443d.
SAMPLE LOCATIONS WHERE THE VIDEO WAS TAPED:
In the Diocese of Orange, Bishop Kevin Vann and others stood in front of the former Lydia D. Killefer Elementary School building in Orange, one of the first schools in California to desegregate, for the 7th Station of the Cross. The school is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco’s location for the 11th Station of the Cross is at the Shrine of the Crucifixion in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. The Cathedral has been the historic location of rallies for the dignity of human life.
The sixth station was prayed at the Fruitvale BART station in the Diocese of Oakland, the scene of a fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III in 2009 by a police officer, while Grant lay prone on the train platform in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. The incident was portrayed in the 2013 award-winning movie, Fruitvale Station.
The Diocese of San Bernardino filmed its Stations of the Cross video at the gas station in Riverside, CA where city police shot and killed Tyisha Miller, a 19-year-old African American woman who was sitting unconscious in her car. (6575 Brockton Avenue, Riverside, CA.) Her killing attracted national attention and the presence of noted civil rights leaders. More than $22 million in civil judgments were paid out in the case and the incident led to reforms within the Riverside Police Department. None of the officers involved in Miller’s shooting were criminally charged.
The Diocese of San Diego taped its Station of the Cross with Bishop McElroy in central San Diego in a spot where the headquarters of the KKK stood in 1920. From there, its members targeted blacks and Hispanics.
As its setting for the Stations of the Cross, Bishop Oscar Cantú of the Diocese of San Jose chose the gardens of Our Lady of Peace Shrine. The 32-foot-tall stainless-steel sculpture, built in 1983, is one of the largest and one of the only Marian shrines on the West Coast as well as an iconic feature of Silicon Valley. The Shrine of our Blessed Mother has been a focal point for many people seeking inspiration, comfort, or a peaceful place to pray, and it was a fitting place to ask Our Lady to intercede for Racial Justice and Peace.
Located in downtown Sacramento, the “Kumbaya Moment” mural illustrates the last strands of a tug-of-war between sides. It served as the location for the Diocese of Sacramento’s video. Filmed with the cross in the center of the frame, the Diocese of Sacramento sought to further illustrate the need to bring Christ into the difficult discussions of our day.
The Diocese of Stockton recorded its station at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton. They chose that location because it is their mother church and because of its urban surroundings. The visual piece shown in front of Bishop Myron Cotta represents the 14th station, where Jesus was laid on a slab and into the tomb. The slab where Jesus was laid to rest has symbolic parallels to where George Floyd was killed, on the street curb.