SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of spectators lined the streets of downtown San Antonio on Good Friday to witness the annual Passion Play, a dramatic recreation of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Irma Denton said attending the somber and emotional play is a Lenten tradition for her.
"Because he's human like we are. And he didn't expect anything in return," she said.
The Passion Play dates to 1983, when the wooden cross carried by the actor playing Jesus weighed 150 pounds, compared to the 50-pound cross used now.
Among the actors was Loreily Ortiz, who played the part of Mary, Jesus' mother.
"I'm a mom, too. As a mother, I'm able to relate. She was so pure, though. She was without sin. The pain that we suffer as humans doesn't even compare to the pain that she went through," she said.
San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller compared the painful walk of Jesus Christ to Calvary to the troubles immigrants face these days during their journey to the United States.
"They are displaced. They are considered trash. In entering into Jesus's heart, we can see things differently. We can relate to people differently," he said.
Garcia-Siller told the crowd that people need to be mindful of immigrants who bear their own crosses of emotion and pain.
Joanne Zintel said she hopes to attend the Passion Play for years to come.
"It's the whole meaning of Easter. It's why Jesus died on the cross for us. My husband passed away in October, and I know he's up there with God looking down on me today," she said.
The event began with a prayer service at Milam Park and ended at San Fernando Cathedral in Main Plaza.