MANAGUA – A score of boats took part on Monday in Nicaragua’s aquatic Way of the Cross procession, though no clergy were present in line with the Catholic Church’s policy against large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The boats made their way among several islets in Lake Nicaragua just off the shore in the picturesque colonial-era city of Granada.
The procession, organized this time by the Granada municipal government, lasted about three hours, roughly an hour less than the church-sponsored events of previous years.
“Before April 19 (2018, the start of a wave of anti-government protest) and the pandemic, it was much bigger, because it was more religious. The church came and there was a larger number of people,” motorboat skipper Luis Mejia, a five-year veteran of the procession, told reporters.
The boats make 14 stops corresponding to the 14 stations of the cross. Awaiting them on some of the islets were images of Jesus and even groups of children re-enacting the events of the first Good Friday.
Started 41 years ago by the Rev. Omar Cordero, pastor of the Church of Guadalupe in Granada, the spectacle on Lake Nicaragua is believed to be the only Way of the Cross procession of its kind in the world.
Aboard the boats following the lead craft bearing the figure of Christ were at least 15 people snapping photos and capturing video of the procession.
Police and naval personnel provided an escort for the procession and several boats filled with public employees and the Catholic faithful followed from a respectful distance.