Canadian Jesuits International (CJI) participated in the Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice on 14 April 2017. The theme this year was “Breaking Barriers.” The walk began and ended at the Church of the Holy Trinity in downtown Toronto. As in past years, a simple meal of soup and bread followed.
This year there were five “stations of the cross.” CJI organized the first station, focusing on inequality, fear, prejudice and discrimination. There was a placard for each of these barriers to justice along with a short reflection, including a quotation and prayer. After addressing each barrier the placard was turned around to reveal part of a palm frond. These were then turned into an archway through which people on the walk proceeded to the next station.
Other stations were at Old City Hall, where Development and Peace drew attention to barriers faced by women; Nathan Phillips Square, where FCJ Refugee Centre presented barriers faced by refugees; the Masjid at Bay and Dundas Streets; and Holy Trinity Church.
We were pleased to have our Provincial Superior Fr Peter Bisson SJ on the walk as well as CJI Board Member Ted Penton SJ. It was also special to be greeted by Dr Wael Shehab, the imam of Masjid Toronto, where a branch of the Muslim Association of Canada is located.
The Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice began in 1979 and has focused on a range of issues including peace, indigenous relations, the criminal justice system, violence against women, economic injustice and environmental stewardship. It is organized by a planning team drawn from several Christian denominations. Well over a hundred people take part each year.