Marilyn Livingston said her Friday was pretty booked. She had lots of obligations to meet.
But that quickly changed.
“I saw the group,” Livingston said. “And I knew I needed to get some steps in for the day. And I saw all these people coming out of the church and I thought, ‘Good Friday. Remembering our lord and savior who died for our sins so that we might live.’ So I joined in.”
On this Good Friday -- the day that Christians believe Jesus Christ was crucified -- Livingston joined about 200 people observing the solemn day by walking together on Genesee Street for the Greater Rochester Community of Churches Good Friday Cross Walk.
During the two-mile walk, the crowd followed teenagers carrying the cross. Two at a time carry the large cross, a new pair taking over at each of the walk’s seven stops. It was raining, but nobody seemed to mind.
The walk stopped at places like Jordan Health Care Center and Teen Empowerment. At each stop, the crowd offered prayers and blessings.
Near Wilson Magnet High School, City Council candidate Alex White stopped to pick up trash spilled in the street. White said he’s been to a lot of these walks.
“The concept of walking through battered neighborhoods with people of good faith has potential to attract them to causes and ideas and interests that may help our community,” White said.
White said this kind of event shows some people a different side of Rochester.
“We’re not in an area where a lot of people on this walk would feel safe to come to, and yet on Good Friday, in memory of the trials and tribulations of Christ, we can get them into the city to walk and pray for a better world,” White said.
Genesee Street runs through the heart of Rochester’s 19th Ward. It’s one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods -- a mix of worn-out store fronts, century-old housing stock and people huddled at bus stops.
“There’s the suffering of the world right here on Genesee Street,” said Brian McNulty, who lives on nearby Brooks Avenue and is a deacon at St. Monica’s Church on Genesee.
For McNulty, the Cross Walk isn’t just about faith -- it’s also about recognizing his neighbors’ struggles.
“There are certainly things that go on,” he said. “Drugs and prostitution and all kinds of other things, but we live together. We’re trying to show some sort of solidarity with each other.
“Look at all these people,” he added. “Quite a crowd. All of them saying death ain’t gonna win. Death is gonna be defeated, and the living and the growing is going to continue and grow. So it’s a hopeful sign. Although we remember the pain and the sorrow, we live in hope.”