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Teen feels Christ's pain in portrayal in annual Stations of Cross procession

By JULIAN CAVAZOS
April 2, 2010 at 6 p.m.
Updated April 1, 2010 at 11:02 p.m.


FACTS ABOUT STATIONS OF THE CROSS

The cross used is made of cedar and weighs between 150-200 pounds.

Enrique, who played Christ, is 5-foot 5-inches tall, and weighs 135 pounds.

The cross is about eight feet tall, six feet wide

The procession is about 1.5 miles long

There are 14 stations, starting with Christ condemned to death, and ending with his burial

This year was the 28th year it was re-enacted.

About 30 youth participated, mostly ranging between ages 14 to 23.

For nearly a mile and a half, Enrique Linares carried his cross like Jesus Christ.

It wasn't easy, he said, as actors playing Roman guards - who to a much lesser degree - whipped his back, laughed at him and kicked him down.

"Some parts were actually real and actually hurt, and I felt some of what (Jesus Christ) felt," the 17-year-old said. "But it's not the same thing because they were hitting him twice as hard or three times as hard."

Enrique played the role of Jesus Christ for the 28th annual Stations of the Cross re-enactment put on by Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church and Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Friday.

The event was in commemoration of Good Friday, observed by Christians as the day Christ was crucified on the cross and died for the sins of the world.

Hundreds of believers in Christ followed behind Enrique down Callis Street in Victoria's Silver City neighborhood and watched him suffer the similar pains, mocks and scourges Christ experienced.

"More when they would hit him, and he fell the second time," said Rosa Conos, who attended the event. "It hit the heart just watching him experience what actually happened."

But though Enrique played Christ's role, he said he wasn't doing much acting.

His emotions were real, he said, such as when his face would cringe with pain when he would get whipped, or when he would look tired from the burden of carrying a cross weighing more than 100 pounds.

"Even though you're re-enacting, you feel all the emotion, all the pain he went through," the Memorial High School senior said. "There's emotion that goes through my whole body."

But, perhaps no others felt his pain the way his parents did, they said, who found difficulty in watching their son play the part.

"Every fall was very hard for me," said Enrique's mother, Teresa Linares, in Spanish. "Every fall, every whip. It was as if they were doing it all to me. I'm very proud of my son."

Unlike the other years this has occurred, what made it different this year is the number of youth involved.

At least 30 youth participated as actors, a move by the Catholic churches to bring teens closer to Christ.

"You never know how this can turn somebody's life around and start going to church, and start giving themselves to the Lord," said Claudia Linares, a church member who helped direct the event. "It's just a joy to see the youth involved in it. They're our future. That's our church right there."

Timmy Hubbell, 16, gained a deeper appreciation for Christ by playing a Roman guard to one of the robbers crucified with Christ.

"I kind of felt bad for the guy I was beating after a while," said Timmy, who used a whip made of vine and rope with red face paint on the tips to look like blood. "His back started turning red. You never really get the image in your mind of what actually happened until you see it."

For Enrique, playing Christ was a life-changing experience.

"He gave so much for us," he said. "This type of pain-- you don't go through it everyday. It's something you have to give Him credit for. Without Him, we wouldn't be here."

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