Good Friday tradition carries on in Pilsen with small group as faithful asked to stay home Easter weekend

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The faithful in Chicago, the state, and around the world are being asked by their leaders to worship differently this Easter weekend to save lives. And it was readily apparent in the Pilsen neighborhood.

Fewer than 10 people formed the procession for the 43rd annual Via Crucis in Pilsen.

All of them, except the actor portraying Jesus for the stations of the cross, wore face masks and social distanced. The streets were nearly empty this Good Friday because of COVID-19.

Normally, they are filled with 5,000 to 8,000 spectators.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, interdenominational faith leaders and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recognized the stations of the cross and the severity of the threat this global health crisis poses. They're calling on the devout to observe Easter weekend from home.

"We have to take responsibility for our actions and make sure we keep each other safe," said Cardinal Blaise Cupich.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed that call at a Good Friday news conference.

"I implore all Chicagoans and faith leaders to...celebrate separately," she said.

And on the South Side, aldermen came together in their own personal protective equipment to implore Chicagoans in their communities to stay home from any in-person Easter celebrations.

"If we do this now, we can celebrate many birthdays and Easters and Christmases to come," said 21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins.

The clear message: to stop as many new COVID-19 infections as possible.
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