San Jose’s Way of Cross Enters 37th Year

In 1975, an informal group of 50 Catholics from San Francisco’s South Bay decided, in the words of one, “to offer prayer and penance in union with the Passion of Christ in reparation for the evil of abortion, and for the conversion of those involved with this grave evil and injustice in our society.”

The founders of the event were two sisters then in their 80s, Mary Nora Jacque and Mary Eleanor Jacque, who decided a public act of reparation was needed after the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion throughout the United States. 

The group chose to express their witness by following the Way of the Cross on each Good Friday. The faithful begin their walk at St. Martin’s Church in San Jose and continue for nine miles, to Our Lady of Peace Church in Santa Clara.

With this group, “carrying the cross” is not a metaphor, and a physical as well as spiritual struggle. The walk is led by men of the group who take turns carrying a life-size wooden cross, built out of railroad ties. The heavy cross is carried for the whole nine miles.

The Way of the Cross route takes the procession past Planned Parenthood, on San Jose’s “The Alameda.” Tony Ryan, director of sales and marketing for San Francisco’s Ignatius Press, who has participated since 1977, says, “We always stop in front of Planned Parenthood on this nine-mile walk – which happens to be right on the walk – and pray a Rosary there. They expect us and have their deathscorts out in big numbers to guard against us dangerous praying pro-lifers.”

Each year participation has grown. In 2011, 250 people, from infants and babies in strollers to young singles, families, and people in their 70s and 80s attended the Way of the Cross.

The walk takes a 15-minute break when walkers reach Santa Clara University, and provides a poop-out van for those who are unable to walk the entire nine miles. The effort is entirely lay—as Ryan pointed out, “clergy are pretty busy on Good Friday.” At the end of the procession the faithful share in a penitential meal, prepared by parishioners from the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara.

For more information about the 2012 Way of the Cross, please call 408-730-4739.



Posted Tuesday, April 03, 2012 7:04 AM By MacDonald
God bless those two old women (Mary Nora & Mary Eleanor), full of faith and concern, who founded this walk! Some people use the word “old” as an insult, but I constantly see it as a beautiful term to describe people who, in some cases, have fought the good fight, have learned a lot, and are using their age and wisdom to inspire us younger people!!!

Posted Tuesday, April 03, 2012 7:14 AM By Life Lady
San Diego also has it’s own version of the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. We will gather at St. Joseph’s Cathedral at 4th and Beech at 11:30 and at noon walk to Horton Plaza reciting the Divine Mercy Chaplet. When we arrive at Horton Plaza we offer the Stations of the Cross in public in reparation for the sins of abortion which has taken our innocent unborn away from our society. When the Stations are completed we process back up to St Joseph’s along 3rd and meet again in front of the Cathedral. There are a few closing remarks and a brief blessing and then we all disperse to finish our Good Friday devotions. For more information contact Roger Lopez of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants in San Diego.