Hartlepool Good Friday Walk of Witness to be held online again due to Covid restrictions

An important religious procession as part of Hartlepool’s Easter celebrations will once again be held virtually.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 8:39 am

The annual Walk of Witness typically sees parishioners from all the town’s Catholic churches carry a cross through the streets on Good Friday morning and meet up at the war memorial in Victoria Road for a well-attended service.

For a second successive year the event will be greatly scaled back with parishioners and the public invited to follow the event virtually from their own homes.

Although lockdown has started to be lifted, the Headland’s St Mary’s Church says it has taken the decision to hold it digitally again due to the current restrictions regarding social distancing and mass gatherings not yet allowed.

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Bernadette Malcolmson from St Mary's Church, Headland on the steps of Hartlepool war meorial during last year's virtual Walk of Witness. Picture by FRANK REID

Bernadette Malcolmson, a parishioner of St Mary’s, will take part in the walk alone and broadcast it live on St Mary’s Facebook page for others to join in.

She said: “We thought last year would be a one off but here we are again. It is disappointing we can’t do it in the traditional way.

"Equally, I’m just happy we can do something and there is the opportunity for people on such a special day to be able to participate.”

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Bernadette, who is also part of Hartlepool Youth Ministry, said they were overwhelmed with how many people watched and interacted with last year’s Walk of Witness and hopes it will be well supported again.

She added: “They really made the experience what it was, joining in with the chat and providing encouragement along the way.

"Also there were some people who can’t physically do the walk under normal circumstances so they appreciated being able to participate in a way they had never been able to previously.

"It opened it up to a new audience.”

Along the way, Bernadette will stop to read submitted prayers reflecting each of the 14 stations of the cross which refer to moments of Jesus’ day of crucifixion.

She is due to be joined at the war memorial at around 11am by Nick and Elizabeth Dunn, who will walk from St Patrick’s Church.

Afterwards, a short service will be held at St Joseph’s Church, in St Paul’s Road, led by and aimed at young people.

Track and Trace will be in operation.

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