Tucson’s west side is built on tradition. A-Mountain the volcanic hillside with a whitewashed “A” is where this desert city began and today you can drive through Sentinel Peak park and enjoy the sun rising or setting upon the always growing desert landscape turned cityscape nicknamed the “Old Pueblo”. Tonight is Good Friday and the Easter/Pass Over period has filled the grocery stores with masses of shoppers. But for 46 years “The Faithful” have taken time out, put on their walking shoes, and headed for A Mountain to carry David Herreras’s cross to the top of the desert mountain where Easter mass will celebrate Jesus Christ.
More than 300 faithful turned out to walk the stations of the Church, each time a new group would step forward to pick up the cross and in turn carry it to the next station. Where others would lift it up and carry it forward. “A sense of peace” is their reward says Rosa Trujillo who has returned year after year to recite the stations and follow the cross to the summit. She came for 15 years nonstop and then moved to Sahuarita but this year she is back with her sister who never used to participate but still lives on the west side. Today everyone has come together. T-Shirts tell much of the story, “Is God, in the house”, “Save Our Streets”, “Mighty Men of Valor”, all christian based programs to help youth stay on the right track. David Herrera, who started the “Los Dorados” group in 1969 when the first “Procession of Followers of The Lord Jesus Christ” was held. Today at 94 he is still directing the first steps taken up the peak. Herrera began his quest to create a path for children to find the Church and Jesus Christ. The procession has become an annual event. Having seen procession photos taken on Good Friday over the years I was anxious to find some colorful craggy faces contrasting against the stark white cross. But this year I noted a generational change in the procession, young people stepping up to run the event, young people stepping up to carry the cross ! For Antonio Chavarria, the annual procession, is a touch of the old country and it puts him in a relaxed and pensive mood when he reflects back forty years after arriving in Tucson from Nicaragua where rebels had made his country a war-torn state. He worked 20 years as a Mexican food cook and another 20 years
with TUSD, in time, bringing his mother and three brothers and three sisters to the United States. Antonio remembers one year fondly when he and his wife walked from River and 1st Ave to the Sunrise Ceremony leaving home walking at 3:30am and arrived ten minutes before the mass. Tonight the “Faithful” settle the old cross on to its resting place, the spot it will greet the Sun, Sunday Easter Morning!
As I prepare to leave I noted the young faces that filled the crowd and wondered about Herrera’s focus and goal for the past forty years of creating a path for Tucson’s youth to find religion through Jesus Christ. I couldn’t help but believe that one man can make a difference ! David Herrera did.
GOOD FRIDAY is the Friday before Easter. Also known as Holy Friday, Easter Friday and Black Friday.
What it means: Represents the day Jesus Christ of Nazareth, condemned by Pontius Pilate, was nailed on a wooden cross, where he died.
Last Supper: Christ was believed to have had his last meal with his disciples the night before Good Friday.
Easter: One of the two most important days in the Christian faith. The other is the day Christ was born. Easter is the day Christians believe Christ rose from the dead, two days after he was crucified.
Cross: The cross, a symbol of death and resurrection for most Christians, usually is associated with Jesus Christ.
Catholic and Protestant crosses: Catholic crosses often contain an image of Christ nailed upon them, while Protestant crosses do not. One reflects Christ’s death and suffering, the other reflects his resurrection.