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Good Friday procession through town set for April 3

Family Harvest Church Pastor Tim Milner (left) and Father Kilian McCaffrey of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church display a cross made out of railroad ties. Local church members plan to carry the cross through Williams on Good Friday, April 3. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Family Harvest Church Pastor Tim Milner (left) and Father Kilian McCaffrey of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church display a cross made out of railroad ties. Local church members plan to carry the cross through Williams on Good Friday, April 3. Ryan Williams/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - A large cross will make its way through downtown April 3 as various local church groups come together for a procession to commemorate Good Friday.

The group will walk through town carrying a four-foot olive wood crucifix from Jerusalem mounted on two railroad ties. Teams of about six people will carry the 260-pound crucifix. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. from Mustang Gas on the east side of town on Railroad Avenue.

Father Kilian McCaffrey of St. Joseph's Catholic Church organized the event to mark what he called the most sacred and somber of holy days in the Christian faith.

"Everybody realizes this was such an incredible moment in our salvation, that we wanted to bring this out into the streets, because it happened in the streets of Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago," he said. "It was a very public moment, and we just would like to reenact that in a very beautiful and very profound way that can touch people."

McCaffrey obtained the olive wood crucifix from his friend Ayman Khair who lives in Phoenix. Khair is a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem who sells religious items from the Holy Land. The crucifix has different compartments containing soil from Bethlehem, rocks from Shepherds Field, incense from Jerusalem, leaves of the olive tree, and dry roses from the Holy Land.

Members of churches from Williams, Ash Fork and Seligman will all participate in the event. McCaffrey said the different churches have collaborated recently to build trust and break down barriers in other ways as well, like planning prayer time together.

"It's not specifically building trust and breaking down barriers in Williams...it's more general among denominations of Christian religions and the Christian faith," he said. "It's the whole idea of uniting everybody of every church of every faith. It's just that we're blessed to have so many pastors and churches that work so well and that are so willing to work together, and anything we can do to come together to be united in faith is a very beautiful and very positive thing."

Pastor Tim Milner of Family Harvest Church agreed that the different churches coming together would be constructive.

"We've got a good relationship," he said of the other churches. "If we can focus on the right things instead of our differences I think we can make a difference. That's what we're here for, to make a difference."

McCaffrey said helping to carry the crucifix during the procession could be especially meaningful for those who are going through a difficult situation.

"If you are carrying a cross in life, what better way than to carry that on this most special of days," he said. "We're all carrying a cross in some shape or form. The cross is the bridge from heaven to earth."

McCaffrey plans for the procession to sing some hymns or spirituals along the way as well. The public is invited to join in the procession. More information is available at (928) 635-2430.

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