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Good Friday on Goose Rock

Around the world, Christians observed Good Friday with traditional prayers including Stations of the Cross which offer reflections on Christ’s passion.

On North Whidbey, youth and members of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church created a Via Dolorosa, “way of suffering,” from Cornet Bay to the summit of Goose Rock — “Golgotha” for the morning.

“We wanted to show high school students an active way to participate in their faith,” youth group leader Mike Batz said.

“The trail is close to two miles round trip, and it’s a hard climb on the way up,” he said. “They will have a way to touch on what Jesus went through during His passion,” Batz added.

Young men carried the cross up the steep, twisting trail to the cadence of “Hail Mary” and penetrating, almost sobbing, songs.

As each solemn mystery of the Stations of the Cross was accomplished, Barry Graff, Matt Manni, Steven Heva, Todd Ritter, John Manni and Henry Vasquez swapped cross-bearing duties.

Along the trail, members said the Rosary as they sweated, and sometimes stumbled, their way up a narrow, rocky path.

After almost a mile of steady climbing, the group reached the top. At the summit, the bearers held the cross in a depression on glacier-scarred Goose Rock — Whidbey Island’s highest point.

More prayers and the haunting strains of “Were you there when they crucified my Lord” followed. Then everyone had an opportunity to approach and kiss the cross.

“The cross wasn’t that heavy, but it was so long it was hard to maneuver on parts of the trail,” Barry Graff, 18, said of his time as cross bearer.

“It was exhilarating and humbling,” Lulu Santos said of the ceremony.

“I know what Jesus suffered had to be so much worse than the exertion of the climb,” she said.

“I cried at the top station,” Vicki Starr said. “It reminded me of growing up in the Philippines when we did the stations on Good Friday.”

“The emotions at the top were overwhelming.”

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