By Bernard Camacho, DSW Service Year Volunteer, 2013-2014
I was volunteering at the Cathedral’s sandwich ministry when Irma first gave me the idea of participating in the Lenten stations of the cross. Each year on Good Friday, the Cathedral has a living stations of the cross. We walk through the streets of Camden, reflecting on Jesus’ passion. Many of the stopping points for the stations are corners where murders have occurred. It’s a powerful moment, knowing that so many parents in Camden grieve the loss of their children to the violence of the streets.
And so in the beginning of Lent, I was asked if I would play the role of Jesus in the Stations and I accepted. I observed my Lenten sacrifices every day and used that motivation to strengthen me. However, it wasn’t until we started nearing the end of our practices that I was beginning to feel integrated into the group. In the beginning, no one knew me and I don’t know too much Spanish so it made communication difficult. Nearing the end, I felt comfortable with everyone that I was working with but I still didn’t feel totally accepted. When the event had finally arrived, I felt ready. I wasn’t nervous. I stayed in character. I knew my lines. I did my best. It was then that I felt I had become an integrated part of the Camden community. Knowing that my time here is limited, I am deeply grateful to have been able to contribute to such a profound and intimate community event and in the process, encourage remembrance and praise for the Lord, our God.