HARTFORD — The streets of the capital city provided the scene for a poignant witness against the use of the death penalty on the Tuesday of Holy Week. Over a hundred clergy, most of them members of the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut but joined as well by other Christian ministers and leaders in other faiths, followed a twisting course through Hartford from Christ Church Cathedral to the neighborhood of Colt Park and then to the Capitol building, pausing to remember the path of Jesus to his crucifixion in Jerusalem.
“Help me to see your image and likeness in the faces of all I encounter, even those I label, mock and condemn,” they prayed before the Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building on Main Street. “Teach me to look with the eyes of Christ and see the Face of Christ. Give me the courage to sustain my efforts to remove the burdens of injustice that exist in the form of capital punishment. Guide my life, draw me closer to you. Amen.”
The procession halted to pray fourteen times in the classic devotional pattern of the “Stations of the Cross.” Scriptures and prayers recalled Jesus’ steps on the day of his crucifixion, beginning with Pilate’s pronouncement of the death sentence. The day’s liturgy reflected on his physical weakness and pain, as well as the aid provided to him by Simon of Cyrene, who carried his cross, and the women of Jerusalem who wept for him.
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