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St Augustine's in DC to air virtual, social justice-focused Stations of the Cross

The oldest Black parish in DC will highlight social justice virtually on Good Friday, connecting the sufferings of Jesus to those of modern American life.

Historic St Augustine Catholic Church in DC will hold a virtual Stations of the Cross ceremony to mark Good Friday, highlighting various locales around the district related to social justice issues.

“These are difficult times for many people,” said Fr Pat Smith, the parish pastor, in a press release sent out this afternoon.

“Our hope is that all who participate will be inspired by the fact that Jesus walks in solidarity with us when we carry our crosses.”

St Augustine’s is often termed the “Mother Church of Black Catholics”, due to its being situated just a few miles from the heart of the nation’s capital and its history as the district’s first Black parish. (The parish also operates DC’s oldest Black school.)

Its close proximity to the heart of the nation’s ongoing struggle against White Supremacy and the ‘throwaway culture’ of our day also makes it an ideal Catholic witness amidst the trials of daily life for Americans at present.

The stations will include reflections at Black Lives Matter Plaza (established over the summer), a local tent city, Barry Farms (a Black neighborhood currently facing demolition proceedings), the DC Superior Court, as well as the district’s police HQ and jail.

“Our God is a compassionate God,” Smith said, “and compassion literally means ‘to suffer with.’”

Scheduled to air at 1:30pm EST, the event will also have the backdrop of the George Floyd saga, with his trial likely spanning the entirety of Holy Week and thereafter.

Like the courtroom proceedings, St Augustine’s virtual Stations will air live online.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).