Hartlepool Catholics bear their crosses for Good Friday service

Christine Harvey from St Mary's church holding the cross that she will carry during the Walk of Witness Easter Walk. Picture by FRANK REID

Christine Harvey from St Mary's church holding the cross that she will carry during the Walk of Witness Easter Walk. Picture by FRANK REID

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Parishioners from Hartlepool’s Catholic and wider church community came together for an open air service on one of the most important day’s in the religious calender.

Dozens of worshippers attended the town’s annual Walk of Witness service in Victory Square on Good Friday morning.

The cross from St Thomas More church and St. John Vianney church is carried across Victoria Road as it arrives for the start of the Walk of Witness Easter Walk. Held at Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID

The cross from St Thomas More church and St. John Vianney church is carried across Victoria Road as it arrives for the start of the Walk of Witness Easter Walk. Held at Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID

Parishioners from Hartlepool’s six Catholic churches, which are part of a Holy Family parish, walked from their own churches to the town centre carrying wooden crosses through the streets.

They then laid them at the war memorial for the duration of the short service.

The procession and service, which was led by young people, was a show of their faith to others and in part a re-enactment of Jesus’s final journey before his crucifixion.

The service featured readings, hymns and prayers.

The Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Victory Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Victory Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

It was led by Father Michael Griffiths of St Joseph’s Church and children and young people from Sacred Heart Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School, St Teresa’s Primary School, and English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College.

Jeremy Cain, who has co-ordinated the event for several years, said: “There are two reasons for doing it.

“Firstly, for us to think about what Jesus did for us by suffering and dying for us on the cross, and partly to encourage other people to think about it.

“For many people Good Friday is just a normal day, going about their shopping, to the pub for a drink or catching a bus.

Christine Harvey from St Mary's church holding the cross that she will carry during the Walk of Witness Easter Walk., along with fellow church members (left to right) Susan Atkinson, Geraldine Martin and Bernadette Malcolmson Picture by FRANK REID

Christine Harvey from St Mary's church holding the cross that she will carry during the Walk of Witness Easter Walk., along with fellow church members (left to right) Susan Atkinson, Geraldine Martin and Bernadette Malcolmson Picture by FRANK REID

“We hope by seeing what we are doing they might just pause and think a bit more about today.”

Along with St Joseph’s Church, the Holy Family parish comprises St Mary’s on the Headland, St John Vianney, St Thomas More, St Cuthbert’s and St Patrick’s.

Jeremy added: “I’m very pleased with the service. It was originally organised by and for young people about six or seven years ago.

“Then all the adults wanted to be part of it as well. But we still try to get young people to be at the heart of it.”

Father Michael Griffiths, Holy Family Parish Priest  listens as a lesson is read during the Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Victory Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Father Michael Griffiths, Holy Family Parish Priest listens as a lesson is read during the Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Victory Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The Hartlepool Youth Ministry also plays a lead role in organising the event.

After the open air service, the procession moved to St Joseph’s Church for final readings and prayers, before refreshments in the parish centre.

The Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Victory Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Victory Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The cross from  St St Cuthbert's Church is carried along Victoria Road as it arrives for the start of the Walk of Witness Easter Walk. Held at Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID

The cross from St St Cuthbert's Church is carried along Victoria Road as it arrives for the start of the Walk of Witness Easter Walk. Held at Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID

The Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Wesley Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The Walk of Witness Easter event. Held at Wesley Square, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID