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Last updateTue, 28 May 2019 12am

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    Monday, May 27, 2019-5:41:00P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Saipan’s faithful join traditional Good Friday trek to Mt. Tapochau

THE annual Good Friday trek to Mt. Tapochau is an expression of the community’s gratitude to God for sending His Son to save us, Chalan Kanoa Bishop Ryan Jimenez said.

“The cross is the symbol of the Lord’s tremendous love for us, sending His Son to save us. The image of our community, working together and making sacrifices together, is our response to God’s love,” Bishop Jimenez said in an interview.

Hundreds of devotees joined this year’s Good Friday event, with about 30 to 40 people carrying the 350-lb. wooden cross from Capital Hill to Mt. Tapochau’s summit where Bishop Jimenez celebrated Mass.

“I hope that other than the excitement of coming here, we will also take the time to reflect on what Good Friday is all about,” he said. “Take time to remember the passion, the death, the resurrection of the Lord and how we are saved.”

For Sen. Vinnie Sablan, the Good Friday trek is more than just a tradition. “It is also a good time to reflect on how thankful we should be to the Lord.”

Every year, Sablan works with other devotees in mounting the cross on Tapochau.

Rep. Luis John Castro said the trek is an annual ritual for him. “Every year that I do this, together with, friends, neighbors and family members, there is always that feeling of renewal.”

About 30 men carried the cross from Capital Hill all the way to the summit of Mt. Tapochau on Good Friday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio About 30 men carried the cross from Capital Hill all the way to the summit of Mt. Tapochau on Good Friday. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

Mt. Carmel Church lector Greg Sablan said he has been participating in the tradition for more than 20 years now. “It is a personal devotion for me — tracing the path that Jesus took on His way to his crucifixion and asking God for forgiveness.”

Angel Ray Guerrero, a cancer survivor, said it was encouraging to see everyone taking part in the annual trek.

“It is a reflection of the people’s devotion and their faith. Despite the challenges, we continue to believe that anything can still happen,” Guerrero added.

Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang said lot of people walked all the way to the mountain top even before the crack of dawn.

The mayor’s office set up a canopy beside the road to provide devotees with water, fruits, soup and boiled eggs.

Other community and government organizations also set up their canopies to provide food and water to the devotees.

At about 8 a.m., Apatang said his personnel started cleaning up the area. “We installed trash cans from the bottom to the top of the mountain, but some people ignored them and threw trash on the ground,” the mayor said.

View more photos from the event in our gallery