Prayer procession to take place on Good Friday

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 23, 2016

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — Clergy members from a variety of denominations will come together for a public procession called Stations in the Streets this Good Friday, March 25.

Participants will use the nonvehicular portion of Kercheval Avenue from Fisher to Neff roads between 3 and 4:30 p.m. that day, where they will stop 15 times for a few minutes apiece to read from scripture and reflect, explained the Rev. Andrew Kowalczyk, pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Park. 

During a March 21 Grosse Pointe City Council meeting, he said it was a chance “for all churches to come together and, on Good Friday, to lift the community in prayer.” He said they hope to pray for families and struggling young people in particular. The event is being organized by the Grosse Pointe Ministerial Association, a group made up of churches in the Pointes. Kowalczyk said they selected the City location because it’s in the center of the Pointes. The procession is slated to start at the foot of Fisher and Kercheval and continue to Neff.

Representatives from nine local churches will contribute reflections, and a cantor from a synagogue in downtown Detroit will offer an invocation at the beginning and end of the procession, Kowalczyk said. 

City Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni said he’s walked and driven the route with organizers and doesn’t anticipate any problems. He said organizers secured parking for participants at Grosse Pointe South High School, which is closed that day. 

Poloni said organizers expect about 100 participants for the first-time event, but City Manager Peter Dame acknowledged, “We don’t know exactly how many people will show up.” The procession is open to the public.

Dame said they are trying to minimize the event’s impact on traffic, and they plan to continue two-way traffic along Kercheval during the procession.

If possible, “we really want to use the street, not the easement” for the participants, Poloni said. He said he’ll be at the event and they’ll be setting up traffic cones along the route. The procession will be stopping at areas on the north side of Kercheval but not in intersections, Dame said.

“We thought it was an honorable idea, to pray for the community,” Poloni said.

City officials agreed.

“I just think it’s a wonderful idea in these turbulent times, and I strongly approve of it,” City Councilman John Stempfle said.

The council voted unanimously in favor of permitting the event.

City Councilman Christopher Boettcher told Kowalczyk, “I hope you get more than 100 people” to take part.

Organizers hope to make this an annual event.

“In the future, we hope that all churches will participate,” Kowalczyk said.